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University of California • Berkeley 

The Peter and Rosell Harvey 
Memorial Fund 

History of California, Vol. V. 


Here is presented for the first time a complete and accurate history of the conquest, or 
occupation of California by the United States. The subject is exhaustively treated in all 
its phases. The policy of our government and the doings of its agents are studied from 
documentary sources hitherto unknown, and many a long kept secret is brought to light. 
Says a recent writer in the Nation "we await with great curiosity and interest the fifth 
volume which will embrace the exciting story of the American conquest." And indeed, 
covering a period by far the most eventful in Californian annals, and describing occur, 
ences yet fresh in the memory of many men; this volume cannot fail to be as a narrative, 
more interesting and readable than any that have preceded; nor will it as a record prove 
less important, being founded so largely on original testimony. 

Its contents embrace first the foolish but fascinating doings of Fremont, which culmi- 
nated in the Gavilan fiasco; and next the personal and sectional controversies that 
marked the last days of Mexican political annals. Then a chapter is devoted to foreign 
■relations, the policy of the United States and other nations, and the efforts of Consul 
Larkin, and another to the Causes of the Settlers' Revolt, wherein Fremont's disobedi- 
ence is fully set forth. Four chapters suffice for a detailed presentment of the Bear Flag 
Revolt in all its phases of blundering and criminal filibusterism; and then begins the 
story of the conquest proper as part of the Mexican War. 

The raising of the stars and stripes, end of the Bear regime, policy and acts of Sloat and 
Stockton, pretended danger of British intervention, McNamara land grant occupation 
of the south, with the last acts and flights of Castro and Pico, are closely followed by the 
Flores revolt, the organization and achievements of the California Battalion, the fight at 
Natividad, and General Kearney's defeat at San Pascual, bringing us to the end of 1846; 
while with the Santa Clara campaign, the retaking of Los Angeles, and the treaty of 
Cahuenga, the conquest is ended early in 1847. 

The political controversies of Stockton, Kearney, and Fremont next claim attention, to 
the Mormon Battalion a chapter is given; and another to the regiment of New York 
Volunteers and Co. F. 3d U. S. Artillery. Annals of immigration include the tragic 
experiences of the Donner party and the coming of Sam Brannan's Mormon colony. The 
Ex-Missions, with Indian affairs, and annals of trade, furnish material for a chapter; the 
rule of Governor Mason in 1847-8 is chronicled in another with its complication of new 
political problems; and local annals of the north and south include a plan of San Fran- 
cisco in 1848. showing the site of every building with descriptive notes. At the end of 
the volumne the Pioneer Register and Index, with its 10,000 biographic sketches of early 
Californians, is carried on from P to Z, and thus completed. 

A. L. BANCROFT & CO., Publishers. 

San P^rancisco, August, 1886. 








Vol. V. 184G-1848. 



Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1886, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

All JiujhU Re-ierved. 




January-May, 1846. 


Explorers in the Tulares — Fremont at New Helvetia, Yerba Buena, and 
San Jos6 — Visit to Larkin and Castro at Monterey — Explanations to 
the Prefect — Permission to Recruit his Men on the Frontier — Tho 
Walker-Talbot-Kern Party — In Camp at Fisher's Rancho — Frdmont 
Breaks his Agreement — Insult to Alcalde Pacheco — Over the Santa 
Cruz Mountains — In Camp at Alisal — Ordered to Depart — Defiance — 
The Stars and Stripes on Gavilan Peak — Larkin 's Efforts — Castro's 
Military Preparations — Falsity of Current Versions — Fremont Puns 
Away — His Blunder — Proclamations and Reports — In the Sacra- 
mento Valley — Letter to Clyman — To the Oregon Border — A Night 
Attack by Indians — Back to California — Gillespie's Arrival and In- 
structions — Up the River by Boat — Sutter's Warning to Castro ..... 1 



January- June, 1846. 

Fruitless Controversy — Alvarado as Congressman — Castanares and 
Tellez — Covarrubias as Pico's Agent — Mission of Castillero — Affairs 
in Mexico — Iniestra's Expedition — Tellez and Morales — Cambuston 
and Castro — Valle and Treasury Troubles — Assembly — Guerra Sent 
to Monterey — Return of J. A. Carrillo — Pico as Constitutional Gov- 
ernor — Military Junta at Monterey — Adhesion to President Paredes 
— Measures fo** Defence — Pico's Protests — Vallejo's Position — Guerra 
Sent to Angeles — Consejo General de Pueblos Unidos at Santa Bar- 
bara — Castro's Protests — Martial Law — The Assembly Deposes Cas- 
tro — Pico and his Army March North against Castro — Warlike 
Preparations for Defence of Angeles — Cooperation of Foreigners — 

Bandini and Castro— Affairs in the North 30 

( vii ) 



January-June, 1846. 


Larkin as U. S. Confidential Agent— His Instructions— Correspondence- 
Fears of Invasion — Treatment of Foreigners — Fremont's Operations 
in March— Larkin 's Efforts and Hopes— Monterey Junta— Imaginary 
Speeches for England, France, and the U. S. — Stearns, Leese, and 
Warner— Sutter's Policy — Consejo General at Santa Bilrbara, and its 
Bearing on Foreign Schemes — Views of Stearns and Larkin — Pico's 
Intrigues — Exaggerations on English Interference — Testimony of 
Gillespie and Minor — Position of Forbes and Spence — Stearns as Sub- 
agent of the U. S. — Condition of Affairs in June— General Conclu- 
sions 54 



June, 1846. 

An Unexpected Outbreak — Its Alleged Motives — Self-defence and Re- 
sistance to Oppression — Mere Pretexts — Current Rumors — The In- 
surgents Classified— Adventurers— American Enthusiasts — Ambitious 
Politicians — Real Motives of the Leaders — Fremont's Policy — Gilles- 
pie's Mission — Ambition and Revenge — A Bold Resolution — Over- 
much Caution — Nature of Fr^-mont's Cooperation — Ide's Theories 
and Statements — A Filibustering Scheme — Needless, Unjustifiable, 
Productive of No Good — Not a Part of the Conquest — Serious Re- 
sponsibilities of the Insurgent Leaders — A Fortunate Ending 77 



June, 1846. 

Fremont's Return from Oregon— Hensley's Mission— A Summons to Re- 
volt — Fr»5mont Cautious — All Ready — Camp Moved to Bear River — 
Castro at Santa Clara— His Visit to Sonoma — Arce's Caballada — 
Merritt Sent by Frdniont to Begin Hostilities— Seizure of Horses on 
the Cosumncs — The Filibusters Reenforccd in Napa Valley — Names 
— Occupation of Sonoma— Vallejo a Prisoner of War — Negotiations 
—Written Guaranties— Broken before the Ink was Dry — Incidents 
of tho Morning- The Insurgents Unmanageable — Aguardiente— A 
Controversy— John Gngsby Declines the Command— William B. Ide 
ChoBcn— Journey of tlie Prisoners to Fremont's Camp— Locked up in 
Sutter's Fort .. 101 





June- July, 1846. 


Sutter's Position — The Prisoners — Their Treatment — Correspondence of 
the Captives — Events at New Helvetia — South of the Bay — Rosa 
Sent by Vallejo to Montgomery — Misroon's Mission — Official and 
Private Correspondence— Castro's Proclamations — Military Prepara- 
tions — Three Divisions to Retake Sonoma — Torre Sent across the 
Bay — Manuel Castro's Mission — Insurgents at San Francisco — 
Weber's Arrest — Montgomery's Policy — Pico at Santa Barbara — 
The Angelinos not Warlike — Foreigners Offended — The Assembly — 
Pico and Larkin — Pico Marches North — Meets Castro — Embrace of 
Governor and General 122 



June-July, 1846. 

Ide in Command — Banner for the New Republic — Star and Grizzly — 
Raising of the Bear Flag — The Flags as Relics — Ide's Proclamation 
— Falsehood and Bombast — Further Organization — Minor Happen- 
ings — Ide's Version — Treaty with Alcalde — Todd's Mission to Mont- 
gomery — Misroon at Sonoma — Mormonism — A New Proclamation — 
Killing of Cowie and Fowler by the Californians — Padilla and Car- 
rillo — Sortie by Ide — Other Captives — Gibson's Expedition to Santa 
Rosa — Insurgents Reenforced — Land Laws — Grigsby's Return — 
Ford's Campaign — Padilla Joined by Torre — A Surprise — Fight at 
Olompali — Torre Defeated by the ' Bears. ' 145 



Complaints at Sonoma — Ford's Letter — Frdmont on the Sacramento — 
Forced to Act — March to Sonoma — The San Rafael Campaign — Mur- 
der of Berreyesa and the Haro Brothers — A Dastardly Act by Frti- 
mont and his Men — Torre's Ruse — The Insurgents Sent to Sonoma — 
A False Alarm — Spiking the Guns of San Francisco — Capture of 
Robert Ridley — Fourth of July at Sonoma — Military Reorganization 
— Change of Administration — Frdmont Assumes the Chief Command 
— Ide's Version — The Battalion Organized — Fremont's Designs — 
2^ew3 from Monterey— Bibliography of the Bear Flag Revolt 169 






Tlie War with Mexico— Beginning of Hostilities— Feeling in the United 
States respecting California— Policy of President Polk's Administra- 
tion — Instructions to Commodore Sloat in 1845 and 1846 — Plans for 
Permanent Occupation — The Pacific Squadron at Mazatlan — Rumors 
of War — Services of Dr Wood and John Parrott— The Portsmouth 
and Cyane Sent to Monterey — News from tlie Rio Grande — Sloat's 
Plans — His 'Unwarranted Inactivity' — Changes his Mind — Starts 
for California in the Savannah — English Designs — The Rival Fleets 
— A Race in American Imagination — A Protectorate — An Unfounded 
Conjecture — The McNamara Colonization Project — Ten Thousand 
Irishmen for San Joaquin 191 



July, 1846. 
Arrival of Sloat in the Savannah — Events of a Week — More Hesita- 
tion— Fr(5mont's Claim — Larkin's Influence — Despatches from Mont- 
gomery — Resolution — Occupation of Monterey — Sloat's Proclama- 
tion — The Stars and Stripes at San Francisco — Documentary Record 
— The Bear Flag Lowered at Sonoma — At Sutter's Fort — The Change 
at San Jos6 — Fremont and his Battalion March Southward — Occupa- 
tion of San Juan — Tlie Bears at Monterey — Fremont and Sloat— The 
Commodore's Disappointment — The Filibuster's Dilemma — Comfort 
from a New Commodore — Stockton Arrives in the Congress — And 
Assumes Command — The Battalion Mustered in — And Sent to the 
South— Departure of Sloat 224 


THE CONQUEST— Stockton's rule — occupation op the south. 
August, 1846. 
Stockton's Proclamation — A Pronunciamiento Filibustero — Castro Re- 
treats Southward— Pico's Proclamation— Action of the Assembly — 
Vain Eflforts of Govei nor and General for Defence— No Enthusiasm 
or Resources— Castro at the Mesa— Fremont at San Diego — Stockton 
at San Pedro— The Commodore Refuses to Negotiate for Fear his 
Terms may be Accepted- His Weak Excuses— Larkin's Efforts— 
Caatro and Pico Resolve to Quit California— Flight and Farewell 
Addresses— Pico's Land Grants— Stockton Enters Angeles— Submis- 
sion of the People— Proclamations and Orders— News from Washing- 
ton—Election Ordered- Plans for a Civil Government— Garrisons at 
the Southern Towns— Stockton and Fremont Return to the North. . 255 




August-October, 1846. 


At Monterey — Colton's Diaries — The First Newspaper — Fauntleroy and 
Snyder at San Juan — San Jos6 under Hyde, Watmough, and Weber 
— San Francisco Affairs — Reception to Stockton — Revere at Sonoma 
— Meeting of Bear Flag Men — Release of Prisoners — The Walla 
Walla Invasion— Stockton's Grand Plans — JuanFlaco's Ride — Prep- 
arations to Quell the Revolt — Gillespie at Angeles — ^Varela's Attack 
— Jos6 Maria Flores — Pronunciamiento — Fight at Chino Rancho — 
Gillespie's Capitulation — Talbot Driven from Santa Barbara — Mer- 
ritt from San Diego — Mervine's Defeat — Meeting of the Assembly — 
Stockton at San Pedro — San Diego Reoccupied 28S 



November-December, 1846. 
Stockton at San Diego — Petty Hostilities — Preparations Interrupted — 
U. S. Troops Coming from the East — Affairs at Angeles — Orders 
and Correspondence — Revolt against the Governor — Coronel's Ad- 
ventures — The Dalton Financial Scheme — The Chino Prisoners — 
Flores Imprisoned and Released — Alarming News — Kearny's Instruc- 
tions — His March from New Mexico — Meeting Kit Carson — Capture 
of Horses and a Courier on the Colorado — Across the Desert to 
Warner's and Santa Maria — Reenforced by Gillespie — Fight at San 
Pascual — Defeat of Kearny by the Californians under Pico — Thirty- 
seven Men Killed and Wounded — In Camp at San Bernardino — Re- 
enforcements under Gray — March to San Diego — Stockton and 
Kearny March on Angeles 326 



November, 184 6- January, 1847. 
Fremont's California Battalion — Official Plunder of the Rancheros — Suc- 
cessful Recruiting — Indian Allies — Organization and List of Officers 
— Manuel Castro and Other Officers Break Paroles and Join Flores — 
From San Luis to the Salinas — Burroughs and Thompson at San 
Juan — Capture of Larkin — Americans at Los Verjeles — Approach of 
the Californians — Fight at Encinalito — Foster Killed — Battle of Na- 
tividad — Death of Burroughs — Losses— Castro's Retreat — March of 
Fremont's Battalion from San Juan to Santa Barbara — Condemna- 
tion and Pardon of Jesus Pico — Disastrous Crossing of the Cuesta de 
Santa In6s — More Forced Contributions — Sanchez's Revolt — Alarm 
at the Pueblo — Marston's Expedition — Campaign of Santa Clara — 
End of War in North — Loss of the Warreii's Launch — Wreck or 
Murder 357 




January, 1847. 


Stockton's Army— The Advance from San Bernardo to Los Coyotes — 
Propositions from Flores — A I'roclamation — Sand-storm — Forster's 
Services — Change of Route to Avoid Ambush — Preparations of the 
Califomians — From La Jaboneria to Paso de Bartolo — The Battle of 
the San Gabriel— Stockton's Report — Defeat of the Californians — 
Fight of the Mesa — Entry into Los Angeles — Fremont's March from 
Santa Barbara to San Fernando — The Californians at Los Verdugos 
— Efforts of Jesus Pico — Flores Transfers Command to Andrds Pico — 
Armistice — Treaty of Cahuenga — The War at an End— Fremont at 
Angeles — Flight of Flores and Manuel Castro to Sonora 385 


Stockton's controversy with kearny. 

January-February, 1847. 

Policy of Sloat and Stockton — A Resum<5 of the Conquest — Kearny's In- 
structions from Washington — Later Orders — State of Affairs on the 
General's Arrival — Discussion at San Diego — The Campaign — The 
Commodore as Commander-in-chief — At Los Angeles — Kearny and 
Fr(!'mont — The Controversy Begun — The General's Authority not 
Recognized — He Goes to San Diego and Monterey — Arrival of Com- 
modore Shubrick — A Policy of Peace — Stockton's Last Acts as Gov- 
ernor — General Conclusions — Kearny in the Right — Stockton in the 
Wrong— Fremont's Action Justified — Rule of Fremont as Governor 
- — Legislative Council — Proclamation — Financial Troubles 411 


Fremont's controversy with kearny. 

March-May, 1847. 

New Instructions— Circular of Shubrick and Kearny — The Latter Assumes 
the Governorship — Proclamation and Report — Commodore Biddle — 
Orders to Fremont, Gillespie, and Cooke— Turner in the South— 
Fr<l'mont'8 Disobedience, Excuses, and his Famous Ride to Monterey 
-Quarrel with Kearny— Cooke at Los Angeles— Mason and Fre- 
mont — A Challenge — Rumors of Mexican Invasion— Kearny in the 
South— Stevenson Succeeds Cooke— Journey of Kearny, Frdmont, 
and Cooko Overland to the States— Stockton Goes East— Petition on 
the Governorship— Fremont's Trial by Court-martial— Found Guilty 
and Pardoned— The Popular Verdict— Benton's Tirade in the Senate 
— The California Claims— Expenses of the Conquest 






Westward Migration of the Mormons by Sea and Land — The Plan to 
Occupy California — Elder Little Applies to the Government for Aid 
— Timely War — Polk's Promises — Kearny's Instructions — Colonel 
Allen's Call — Theory of the Saints — A Test of Loyalty and a Sacri- 
fice — Recruiting the Battalion — List of Officers — Tyler's History and 
Bigler's Diary — March to Santa ¥6 — Death of Colonel Allen — Smith 
in Command — Doctor Sanderson — Calomel and Arsenic — Cooke -in 
Command — His Journal — March across the Continent — Fight with 
Wild Cattle — Arrival at San Diego — In Garrison at San Luis Rey 
and Los Angeles — Mustered out — Reenlistment of One Company — 
Homeward March to Salt Lake in Several Detachments and by Dif- 
ferent Routes — A Festival of 1855 — A Ram in the Thicket 469 



Congress Calls for Volunteers— Letter to Stevenson — Policy of the Gov- 
ernment Revealed — Recruiting in New York — In Camp at Gover- 
nor's Island — Clar-k's History and Murray's Narrative — First or 
Seventh — List of Officers — Character of the Men — Camp Life and 
Drill — Popular Ridicule — Discontent and Desertion — Habeas Corpus 
— Instructions — Stevenson's Troubles — Resisting Arrest — A BafHed 
Sherifif — Newspaper Comment — Voyage of the Perkins, Loo Choo, 
and Drew — Later Vessels and Recruits — The Colonel's Valor — At 
Rio — Arrival at San Francisco — Distribution of the Companies — 
Garrison Life — Disbandment — Company F, 8d U. S. Artillery — In 
Garrison at Monterey — Deserting for the Mines — Sherman's Memoirs 
— Burton's Company — The Dragoons 499 



Statistics of Population — Pioneers of 1846 — Classification — Discontented 
Immigrants— The Oregon Company — Clyman and Hastings Bound 
for the States— Overland Westward — Bryant and Thornton — Many 
Parties — Tedious, Uneventful Journeys — Hastings' Cut-off — The 
Donner Party — List of Names — A New Cut-off — Fatal Delay — Dis- 
_sensions— Starvation in the Sierra — Breen's Diary — Record of Deaths 
— Authorities — The Forlorn Hope — The Four Relief Parties — Gen- 
eral Remarks — The Mormon Immigrants — Plans of the Saints — List 
of Names — Brannan and his Contract— Voyage of the Brooklyn — 
Arrival at Honolulu and Yerba Buena — An Industrious People — 
Dissensions — New Hope on the San Joaquin — Change of Plans and 
a Disappointed Colony — Pioneers and Immigration of 1847-8 524 







Sale of Mission Estates— Act of the Assembly in April— The Montes- 
deoca Order— Pico's Sales from May to July— Purchasers and Terms 
—The Torncl Order- Evidences of Fraud— Action of Flores' Govern- 
ment—Decision of the Courts— Policy of Kearny and Mason, 1847-8 
—Ecclesiastical Afifairs— Bishop and Friars— Vicars— Indian Aflfairs 
— Sutter, Vallejo, and Hunter as Sub-Indian Agents— Local Items — 
Commerce and Maritime Affairs — Meagre Data for 1846 — Statistics 
— Mason's Communications — Collectors — Removal of Burdens — 
Free-trade — New Tariff from Washington — War Contributions — 
Modifications by Mason and Shubrick — Gold-dust for Duties — U. S. 
Revenue Laws Introduced with the Treaty — The First Steamer in 
California Waters— List of Vessels, 1846-8 558 



Mason's Proclamation and Reports — Fears of Revolt — Visits to the South 
and North— Return of Jos6 Castro— The Canon Perdido at Santa 
Bdrbara — Return of Pio Pico — His Claims for the Governorship — 
Imprisonment and Release — Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo — Mason's 
Proclamation — California in Congress, 1846-9 — Causes and Effects of 
the War — Slavery in the Territories — Opposition to the Acquisition 
of California — Debates on Territorial Government — Final Unsuccess- 
ful Efforts — Military Rule — Rights of Conquerors — Views of Con- 
gress and Administration — Policy of Sloat, Stockton, Fremont, and 
Kearny — Mason's Theory and Practice — Items — Alcalde Nash at 
Sonoma — Trial of Armijo — Barrus and Foxen — ^De Facto Govern- 
ment after the Treaty ^ 582 



San Diego Events — Fremont, Stockton, and Kearny — Massacre at Paumaf 
— Mormons and New York Volunteers — Municipal Affairs — Ranchos 
—Revenue— San Diego Mission— San Luis Rey— Padre Zalvidea — San 
Juan Capistrano— Los Angeles District — Index of Occurrences — Sub- 
prefect and Alcaldes— Mormons, Dragoons, and Volunteers — Ranchos 
— San Gabriel- Padre Estdnega— San Fernando Mission — Santa Bdr- 
bara — Pueblo Government — Land Grants — Mission — Bishop Garcia 
Diego — President Duran- San Buenaventura — Santa Inds—Purisima 
—Monterey District- Summary— Town Affairs— San Cdrlos— San 
Luis Obispo — San Miguel— Murder of Reed Family— San Antonio — 
San Juan Bautista- Soledad— Santa Cruz and Branciforte 616 






Population of California — San Francisco — Events — The Name Yerba 
Buena — Descriptions and Statistics — Plan, and Notes on Buildings — 
Municipal Official List — Controversies of Alcalde and Council — Town 
Lots — Survey, Streets, and Improvements — School and Church — 
Newspapers — Military and Revenue — Eanchos and Ex-mission — 
Annals of San Jos6 — Local Occurrences — Indian Troubles — Muni- 
cipal Aflfairs and Lands — The Contra Costa — Santa Clara — Mission 
San Jos6 — Sonoma and the Northern Frontier — San Rafael — Bodega, 
— Napa — Benicia — Original Correspondence of Semple and Larkin — 
Stockton and New Hope — New Helvetia in 1846-7 — Plan of San 
Francisco — Early Buildings 643 

PiONEFJi Reol«5Ter and Inbex. *R ' to 'Zurita' 687 




January-May, 1846. 

Explorers in the Tulares — Fremont at New Helvetia, Yerba Buena, 
AND San Jose— Visit to Larkin and Castro at Monterey— Expla- 
nations to the Prefect — Permission to Recruit his Men on the 
Frontier — The Walker-Talbot-Kern Party — In Camp at Fisher's 
Rancho — Fremont Breaks his Agreement — Insult to Alcalde 
Pacheco — Over the Santa Cruz Mountains — In Camp at Alisal — 
Ordered to Depart — Defiance — The Stars and Stripes on Gavilan 
Peak — Larkin's Efforts — Castro's Military Preparations — Falsity 
of Current Versions— Fremont Runs Away — His Blunder — Proc- 
lamations AND Reports — In the Sacramento Valley — Letter to 
Glyman — To THE Oregon Border — A Night Attack by Indians — 
Back to California — Gillespie's Arrival and Instructions — Up the 
River by Boat — Sutter's Warning to Castro. 

The present volume is devoted to the annals of 
1846-7, including also 1848 in all matters not directly 
connected with the great event of that year, the dis- 
covery of gold. The period is by far the most event- 
ful in Californian history. The volume may be termed 
a History of the Conquest. It includes, however, 
besides developments pertaining to the change of flag 
and Mexican war, the earlier operations of American 
filibusters constituting what is known as the Bear 
Flag revolt, and the later interregnum of military 
rule. Here I record the last petty quarrels under 
Mexican auspices of north and south, of the military 
and civil authorities, of Castro and Pico. Here I 

Vol. V. 1 


chronicle the foolish interference of Fremont and 
his explorers, the diplomatic efforts of Larkin and 
Stearns to secure a change of sovereignty by pacific 
methods, the revolutionary blunders of Ide and his 
associate settlers, and the raising of the stars and 
stripes by Sloat and Montgomery of the navy. Next 
are presented the achievements of the California 
battalion, Stockton's rule, the commodore's unwise 
j)olicy and energetic struggles to put down the result- 
ing revolt, the final efforts of the Californians under 
Flores and Andrds Pico to shake off the foreign 
yoke, the coming of Kearny and his dragoons across 
the continent, their disaster at San Pascual, and the 
closing campaigns of the war ending in the occupa- 
tion of Los Angeles and the treaty of Cahuenga. 
Then follow politico-military controversies of Stock- 
ton, Kearny, and Fremont under the new regime, 
reenforcements by land and sea for garrison service, 
Cooke and his Mormon battalion, Tompkins, Sher- 
man, Ord, and Halleck with the artillery company, 
Stevenson and the New York volunteers, the peace- 
ful rule of Mason as military governor, and news of 
a national treaty making California a permanent pos- 
session of the United States. In this volume are 
given also institutional annals of 1846-8, a commer- 
cial and maritime record, mission and ecclesiastical 
affairs under new conditions, the immigration of three 
years, with the tragic experiences of the Donner 
party, and several chapters of local annals. Finally, 
I here complete the alphabetical Pioneer Register 
and Index of all who came to the country before 
1849. All is brought down to the dawn of a new 
era, that of gold and 'flush times,' to be treated in 
the following volume. 

At the l)eginningof 184G Fremont's exploring expe- 
dition was encamped in the region now known as 
Fresno and Kern counties. Fremont with fifteen men 
had entered California by the Truckee route, and had 


hastened from Sutter's Fort southward with fresh 
suppHes for the rehef of his companions, whom he 
expected to find on Kings River. Meanwhile the 
main body of about fifty, under Talbot, Kern, and 
Walker, had entered the country by Owens River and 
Walker Pass, and were waiting for the captain on 
Kern River. The double error in locating the rendez- 
vous has been already explained.^ At this time the 
explorers had no intention of meddling with political 
or military affairs ; nor did the Californian authorities 
know anything of their presence in the country, beyond 
the bare fact that the smaller party had arrived at 
New Helvetia in December. 

His supplies being nearly exhausted, and Walker's 
men not making their appearance, Fremont left his 
camp January 7th and returned to Sutter's Fort, 
where he arrived on the 15th, after having had, per- 
haps, some trouble with Indians on the way.^ He was 
again warmly welcomed by Sutter, who gave a grand 
dinner for his entertainment and that of Vice-consul 
Leidesdorff and Captain Hinckley, who had lately 
come up the river ; and after a stay of four days, with 
eight of his own men Fremont sailed on Sutter's 
launch for the bay.^ From Yerba Buena he sailed 
with Hinckley on a visit to San Jose and the newly 
discovered mine of Almaden;* but he was back again 
before January 24th, on which date he wrote to his 
wife of past hardships and of the *good time coming,' 
when his explorations would be completed and he 

^ See Hist. Cal. , vol, i v, , chap, xxi v. , this series. In a letter of Larkin — 
that of March 27th, to be noted later — a 'second place of rendezvous' is 
mentioned, but it was probably New Helvetia. 

^ Fremont'' s Geog. Mem., 19, 30; Jan. 20th, Larkin to Sutter. Would be 
glad to see Frdmont at Monterey. Larkin'' s Off. Corresp., MS., i. 73. The Ind- 
ian troubles rest on Carson's statement in Peters' Life of Kit Carson, 250-1, 
not a good authority. 

^N. Helvetia Diary, MS., 30-1; Sutter'' s Diary, 6-7. 

* Lancetfs Cruise of the 'Dale \ 35-6. This author says that at S. Jos6 Fre- 
mont learned that Walker's party were encamped on the S. Joaquin, and sent 
Carson to guide them to S. Jos6; but this, as we shall see, cannot have been 
so at this time, though he may have sent a man to search for them. In Peters' 
Life of Carson, 251-2, Carson is said to have gone out in search of the other 
party, whom he found and brought back — which is not true. 


might return.^ On the same day lie set out with 
LcidesdorfF by land for San Jose and Monterey, 
where they were received by Consul Larkin on the 

It is fair to suppose that Fremont's business w^ith 
Larkin and LeidesdorfF was not only to make arrange- 
ments for obtaining fresh supplies, but to talk over 
the political situation and prospects in their relation 
to the policy of the United States; but while we know 
nothing of the conferences in this respect, it is certain 
that no hostility or annoyance to the Californians was 
proposed, because Larkin, as we shall see later, was 
entranced, in accordance with instructions from Wash- 
ington, and with much hope of success, in efforts to 
conciliate the people and prepare the way for a peace- 
able annexation. At any rate, the explorer became 
acquainted with the exact state of affairs. On the 
29th, Prefect Castro, as was his duty, addressed to 
Larkin a note, asking to be informed respecting the 
purpose for which United States troops had entered 
the department, and their leader had come to Monte- 
rey. Fremont's explanation, transmitted on the same 
day through the consul, was that he had come by 
order of his government to survey a practicable route 
to the Pacific; that he had left his company of fifty 
hired men, not soldiers, on the frontier of the depart- 
ment to rest themselves and their animals;"^ that he 
liad come to Monterey to obtain clothing, and funds 
for the i)urchase of animals and provisions; and that 
when his men were recruited, he intended to continue 

^ Jan. 24th, Fr«imont's letter, in Nileji' Reg., Ixx. 16L He is now going to 
sec some gentlemen on the coast — on business; and then will complete his 
Bun'cy as soon as possible 

* Jan. 24th, Sub-prefect Guerrero to prefect. Announces departure of Frd- 
mont and Leidesdortf. Castro, Doc, MS., i. 311. Arrival on Jan. 27th. Doc. 
IliHt. Cal., iii. SG. Lancey tells us that they spent the three nights of the 
journey at the ranchos of Francisco Sanchez. Antonio M. Sufiol, and Joaquin 
Gomez. Wm F. Swasey says that Fremont's men, Godey and others, were 
left at Verba Bucna, and went with the writer a little later to S. Jos6 by 
M-atcr. Su'dJtn/s Cal. in 1S45-G, MS., 4. 

' As a matter of fact, Fremont liad at this time no knowledge of his com- 
pany's whereabouts; for all he knew, they might have perished in the moun- 
tams; but it was safe enough to say he had left them 'on the frontier.' 


his journey to Oregon. This explanation — repeated 
at a personal interview between the parties named, in 
presence of the alcalde, Colonel Alvarado, Und Gen- 
eral Castro, and also duly forwarded to Governor Pico 
and the supreme government — was satisfactory, at 
least to such an extent that no objection was made; 
and Fremont was thus tacitly permitted to carry out 
his plans. Pico made no, objection, but directed that 
a close watch be kept on the explorer s movements, 
with a view to learn if he had any other design than 
that of preparing for a trip to Oregon.^ 

It should be noted particularly here that the only 
license given to Fremont at this time was a tacit, or 
implied, permission to recruit his men on the frontiers, 
away from the settlements, after obtaining the neces- 
sary funds at Monterey. That is, Castro did not 
order Fremont to quit the country at once, thus in- 
directly authorizing him to remain. This rests not 
on the statements of Castro, but of Larkin and Fre- 
mont.^ The current version given by Tuthill, Lan- 

®In one instance Fremont, Court- Martial, 372, claimed that his plan (and 
Castro's license) was to explore southward to the Gila; but there is no other 
evidence in this direction, and the difference has no important bearing on 
what followed. Jan. 29th, prefect to Larkin. The date in the original blot- 
ters being Jan. 28th, but changed to 29th; L. to prefect in reply. Originals 
in Doc. Hist. Gal., MS., ii. 86, 89; Castro, Doc, MS., i. 316; official copies 
in Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., i. 76; ii. 146; copies in Sawyer's Doc, MS., 1- 
2; and printed in Niles' Reg., Ixxi. 188. Same date, prefect to gov. Doc. 
Hist. Cal., MS., iii. 90, 121, Same date, Id. to sup. govt. Dept. St. Pap., 
MS., vi. 107. Feb. 18th, Pico's reply. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 15. 

^ L. mentions the interview in his letter of March 4th. Fremont's Cal. 
Claims 184B, in U. S. Govt Doc, 30th cong. 1st sess., Sen. Repts, no. 75, p. 
64; Niles' JReg., Ixxi. 188-9. Also in the letter of March 9th, in which he 
says that F. 'informed them of his business; and there was no objection 
made.' Fremont's Cal. Claims, 65; Larhiii's Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 44-5. To 
his office copy of the letter of Jan. 29th, he appends this note: 'The gen- 
eral was at his own request officially informed by Capt. Fremont of his 
motives in coming here; which motives were accepted by Gen. Castro in not 
answering the letter.' Id., i. 76. Benton, in his letter of Nov. 9th, Niles' 
Req., Ixxi. 173, and in his Thirty Years in U. S. Senate, ii. 688, states that 
F. asked and received verbal permission to recruit his men 'in the valley of 
the San Joaquin, ' or ' in the uninhabited parts of the valley of the S. Joa- 
quin.' This is also the version given by the sec. of war in his report of Dec. 
5th, 29th cong. 2d sess., H. Ex. Doc. 4, p. .50; and Cutts' Conq. of Cal., 143- 
4. Fremont himself. Court- Martial, 372, says: *I explained to Gen. Castro 
tl: - ooject of my coming into Cal. and my desire to obtain permission to win- 
ter in the valley of the S. Joaquin, . . . where there was plenty of game, . . . and 
no inhabitants to he molested by our presence. Leave was granted, ' etc. 


cey, Phelps, and others, that Castro gave his word of 
honor, and on being urged to put his permission in 
writing indulged in some bluster about the 'word of 
a Mexican officer,' is pure invention. All agree, how- 
ever, that it was in the San Joaquin Valley that the 
forei^^-ners were to recuperate their strength. Natu- 
rally anxious about the fate of his companions, Fre- 
mont left Monterey a few days later. Larkin says 
it was ''well known that he was to return when he 
collected his men;"^'^ but it is doubtful that this was 
known to the authorities, and certain that he was not 
expected to bring his men with him. His route lay 
over the mountains to the Santa Clara Valley." 

Walker, Talbot, and Kern, with the main body of 
explorers, remained on Kern River, waiting for Fre- 
mont, until January 18th, when they broke camp and 
started northward. On the 26th they reached Kings 
River, mistaking it for the San Joaquin; and in 
attempting a cut-off across a supposed 'big bend' of 
this stream, they floundered for a day or two in the 
tule marshes, but reached the real San Joaquin on the 
30th, and February 6th camped on the Calaveras. 
From this point Walker with one companion started 
out in quest of tidings from Fremont, and met 'Le 
Gros' Fallon, the old mountaineer, who reported the 
captain to be at San Jose. Thereupon Walker went 
to the pueblo, while the company returned to the San 
Joaquin ford to await orders, hunting grizzly bears 
with much success in the mean time. On the 11th 
they were joined by Carson and Owens; and on the 
15th, having met a party with fresh horses, they 
l)a.ssed through the town,*^and at noon rejoined their 
captain and companions at the Laguna farm, or 
Alvirezs' rancho, or Fisher's — near the historic battle- 

|» Letter of March 27th. Larkin' s Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 45-6 
Feb. 5th he was ia the mountains; and Feb. 13th in the valley, proba- 
bly at Fiaher'a rancho. FreinoiU's Geog. Mem., 36. 


field of Santa Teresa. The united force amounted to 
about sixty men.^^ 

After remaining about a week in camp, Fremont 
started with his whole company across the valley 
and up into the Santa Cruz Mountains by way of Los 
Gatos, that of the modern railroad — not the most 
direct route to Oregon, as it seemed to the Califor- 
nians. His trip across the mountains, past the big 
trees, took four days; and then, on February 25th, 
he descended to the coast at a point near Santa Cruz; 
was delayed for some days by the prevalent rains and 
fogs; but finally resumed his march on March 1st, 
following the bay-coast southward, thence turning 
inland up the Salinas Valley, and encamping on the 
3d at Hartnell's rancho, or Alisal.^^ By the very 
act of permitting his men to enter the Santa Clara 
Valley, Fremont had broken his agreement with the 
authorities, and had forfeited every right conferred 
by Castro's promise, even if that promise had been 
as direct and definite as any one has ever claimed. 
His march to the coast without receiving or even 
asking permission was, under the circumstances, an 
insult and a menace to the Californian authorities, 
who, in view of prevalent rumors and fears of war and 
foreign invasion, would have been justified in mani- 
festing a greater degree of alarm and anger than they 
did at seeing an armed force of sixty men marching 

12 Kern's Journal, 484-6; Fremont's Geog. Mem., 19, 30-1; MartiTi's Narr., 
MS., 10-11. Feb. 15th, Marsh writes from Alvirezs' rancho, where he had 
come to see Fr6mont. Larkin's Doc, MS., iv. 39. 

^'^ Fremont's Oeog. Mem., 36-7; Larkin's letter of March 27th. Id., Cal. 
Claims, 67. In his letter of March 4th, Id., 64, Larkin says of F. : 'He is 
now in this vicinity surveying, and will be again at this consular house 
during this month. He then proceeds for the Oregon, returns here in May, 
and expects to be in Washington about September.' It should be noted 
that F.'s movements were but slightly more consistent with apian of explor- 
ing southward to the Colorado and Gila, as he claimed was his plan in one 
document only — Fremont's Court-Martial, 372 — than with the trip to Oregon ; 
Yet he says. Id., 'I commenced the march south, crossing into the valley of 
the Salinas,' and was soon ordered to quit! In his Memoir, Fremont gives 
considerable attention to the big trees — the largest seen by him being 14 
feet in diameter. The big-tree grove is now a popular pleasure resort, and 
one of its standard traditions is to the eflfect that Fremont spent a night in 
the hollow tree still shown to every visitor — as indeed he may have done, 
though he does not mention it. 


through the country under the command of a United 
States officer. 

Besides Fremont's return to the coast, a step that 
seemed utterly inconsistent with his previously an- 
nounced designs, there were two other matters, not im- 
portant in themselves, but which nevertheless tended 
to foment the prevalent alarm and feeling against 
the strangers. While the explorers were encamped 
in the San Jos^ Valley, Sebastian Peralta claimed 
some of their horses as his own. Fremont refused to 
give them up, and ordered Peralta rather unceremo- 
niously out of camp. Complaint was made to Alcalde 
Pacheco of San Jose, who sent Fremont an official 
communication on February 20th. The captain's re- 
ply of the next day is extant. In it he explained that 
all his animals, with the exception of four obtained 
from the Tulares Indians, had been purchased and paid 
for; and that the one claimed had been brought from 
the states. "The insult of which he complains," Fre- 
mont continues, ''and which was authorized by m3^self, 
consisted in his being ordered immediately to leave 
the camp. After having been detected in endeavoring 
to obtain animals under false pretences, he should have 
been well satisfied to escape without a severe horse- 
whipping. . .Any further communications on this sub- 
ject will not, therefore, receive attention. You will 
readily understand that my duties will not permit me 
to appear before the magistrates of your towns on 
the complaint of every straggling vagabond who may 
chance to visit my camp. You inform me that unless 
satisfaction be immediately made by the delivery of 
the animals in question, the complaint will be "for- 
warded to the governor. I would beg you at the 
same time to enclose to his Excellency a copy of this 
note."^* Alcalde Pacheco simply forwarded the cor- 
respondence to the prefect, with a recommendation of 

'*Fcb. 21 8t, Frdmont to Pacheco, from *camp near road to StaCruz,' printed 
from original then in possession of Manuel Castro, in .S^. Francisco AUa, June 
15, 1806. Original Spanish translation by Hartnell, in Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 
28. The letter has been frequently reprinted from the AUa. 


Peralta as an hombre de hien}^ Whatever may have 
been the merit of Peralta's claim, it is evident that Fre- 
mont's refusal to obey the summons of the legal au- 
thorities was altogether unjustifiable, and the tone of 
his refusal most insolent. 

From the southern camp in the early days of March 
three of Fremont's men visited the rancho of Angel 
Castro. One of the men under the influence of liquor 
behaved rudely to Don Angel's daughter, insisting on 
her drinking with him, and was ordered out of the 
liouse by the angry father. He was ejected by his 
companions, though m^aking resistance and drawing a 
pistol. A fine of ten dollars was paid for the offence. 
This is the version given by Larkin, and there is no 
reason to doubt its accuracy. The affair reflects no 
discredit upon Fremont; but naturally exaggerated 
reports were circulated, by no means favorable to the 
Americans. ^^ 

From his camp at Hartnell's rancho, Fremont wrote 
to Larkin the 5th of March, thanking him for news, 
declining his invitation to visit Monterey at present, 
announcing his hope of passing the spring pleasantly 
among the Californian flowers before proceeding north- 
ward, and stating that he would that night move his 
camp to the banks of the Salinas River. ^^ Before 
night, however, a Californian officer arrived with the 
following order from General Castro: "This morning 
at seven, information reached this office that you and 
your party have entered the settlements of this de- 
partment; and this being prohibited by our laws, I 
find myself obliged to notify you that on the receipt 

^■^Feb. 23cl, Pacheco to prefect, in Doc. Hist. Gal, MS., iii. 120. 

/'''Larkin's letter of March 27th, in Larkin' s Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 40. 
This part of the letter is omitted in Fr6monfs Cal. Clairm^, 68. Osio, Hist. 
Cal., MS., 458-9, makes the insult offered a much more serious one, present- 
ing a vivid picture of the old man Castro defending his daughter from out- 

1' March 5th, F. to L., in Larkin' s Doc, MS., iv. Gl. Larkin's letter, not 
extant, is said to have awakened some memories which made Fri^mont's occu- 
pations less interesting, but the allusion is not intelligible. 


of this you must immediately retire beyond the limits 
of the ^department, such being the orders of the su- 
preme government, which the undersigned is under 
the obligation of enforcing." A similar order was is- 
sued by the prefect in behalf of the civil authority. 
B(^th orders were communicated to the supreme gov- 
ernment, to Larkin, and by the latter to the govern- 
ment of the United States.^^ It was understood by 
Larkin at the time that Castro claimed to have just 
received special orders from Mexico not to permit 
Fremont's entry; and certain Californians have con- 
fii'med this view of the matter; but it is nearly certain 
that Castro neither received nor pretended to have 
received any such instructions. General orders, with 
which the reader is familiar, were more than sufficient 
to justify Castro's measures in the eyes of the national 
government; while Fremont's actions afforded ample 
justification from a legal and equitable point of view.^* 
Fremont not only did not obey the orders of the 
authorities, but he did not even vouchsafe a written 
reply in explanation of his past action or present deter- 
mination. He merely sent back a verbal refusal to 

^* March 5, 1845, Jose Castro to Fremont; Prefect Castro to Fremont, both 
transcribed to Larkin; L. to U. S. sec. state, with copies — all English trans- 
lations not agreeing verbally with eacli other — in Larkiii's Off. Corresp. , MS. , ii. 
42-4, 147; yUes' Reg., Ixxi. 189. Later correct translation by Hittell of the 
prefect's order in S. F. Alia, June 15, 1866, and from that source copied in 
Luncey's Cruise, 38; Yolo Co. Hist., 14; and various newspapers. Castro's 
original blotter I have in Hittell, Papeles IfiHtoricos da IS^G, MS., no. 2. 
This is a collection of half a dozen originals pertaining to the Frd-mont affair, 
j^resented to my Library by John S. Hittell, a most important contribution. 
rho order in question is as follows: ' I have learned with much displeasure 
that you in disregard of the laws and authorities of the Mex. repub. have en- 
tered the pueblos of this district iinder my charge, with an armed force, on a 
commission which the govt of your nation must have given you to survey 
soltly its own territory. Therefore, this prefecture orders you as soon as you 
receive this communication, without any excuse, to retire with your men be- 
yond the limits of this department; it being understood that if 30U do not do 
it, this prefecture will a^lopt the necessary measures to make you respect this 
determination.' This was also sent to larkin, with the following note on the 
same sheet; 'On this date I say to Capt. Fr«^'mont, etc. [as above]; and I 
have the honor to transcribe it to your honor for your knowledge, and in or- 
der that 80 far aa it may pertain to you, you may demand of Capt. Fremont 
• ompliancc Mith what is ordered in the said note.' Yours, etc. 

'" In Lancn/s Crniiie, 38; .S'. Ja^f! Pioneer, March 24, 1877, a rumor is men- 
tioned that a man named Green warned Castro tliat F. was plotting to unite 
with the foreigners and take the country; but this has no support. 


obey, which was virtually a challenge. Then he moved 
his camp to the summit of the Gavilan Peak, hastily 
erected fortifications, and raised over his fort the flag 
of the United States. It was a hasty, foolish, and 
altogether unjustifiable step.^^ On March 6th, the 
same day that Fremont began the construction of his 
log fort. General Castro stated the case very fairly in 
a report to the minister of war, as follows: *'This man 
presented himself at my headquarters some days ago, 
with the object of asking permission to procure pro- 
visions for his men, whom he had left in the moun- 
tains — which was given him. But two days ago I was 
much surprised at being informed that he was only 
two days' journey from this place. Consequently I at 
once sent him a communication, ordering him, on the 
instant of its receipt, to put himself on the march and 
leave the department. But I have received no answer, 
and in order to make him obey in case of resistance, 
I sent a force to observe his operations, and to-day I 
march in person to join it and to see that the object 
is attained. "^^ On the same day Larkin wrote to the 
general and prefect, not criticising their orders, but 
urging caution in selecting an officer to command the 
force to be sent to Gavilan, so as to avoid a possibly 
needless conflict growing out of false rumors and de- 
ceptive appearances. Evidently the consul did not 

^° The only possible excuse for the step — one never made, so far as I know, 
by Fremont or any of his friends — might be found in a statement of Alvarado, 
Hkt. Cal., MS., V. 159, etc., that Lieut Chavez, who was sent by Castro to 
the camp, did not deliver the written order, but a verbal one instead, in very 
violent and insulting terms. This statement is not, however, supported by 
any other testimony. 

'■'^ March 6th, Castro to min. of war. Translation in Lancey's Cruise, 39; 
Yolo Co. Hist., 14-15. There are added to what I have quoted the usual 
assurances of patriotic determination, etc., d lo Mejicano. This communica- 
tion is referred to in a later one of April 1st, in Monitor Eepublicano, May 10, 
1846; Niks' Reg., Ixxi. 187-8, in which Castro says: 'This officer, failing in 
the respect due to the laws of the republic and the authorities of the country, 
introduced himself into the midst of the population of the department, with 
a respectable force, under the pretext of coming with a scientific commission 
from his govt; and treating with contempt the notice referred to, he took 
possession of the heights of the sierra, having made only a verbal reply . . . 
that he would remain on that spot prepared to resist any force that should 
attack them.' 


quite comprehend Fremont's movements, but thought 
either that Castro's orders had not been clearly under- 
stocxl, since he now sent copies and translations of 
those orders, or that the captain had secret instruc- 
tions from his government.^'^ 

On the 7th there was no correspondence to be noted 
oxcept an unimportant note from the general to the 
prefect. ^^ Next day the prefect, in a reply to Larkin, 
maintained that his orders to Fremont had not been 
founded on 'fixlse reports or appearances,' as implied, 
but on the laws and oft-repeated instructions from 
Mexico; complained that the consul, instead of order- 
ing Fremont to depart, had to a certain extent de- 
fended his entry; and urged him to impress on the 
captain the necessity of submitting at once if he would 
avert the consequences of his illegal entry — whether 
it had been from malice or error. ^* Larkin enclosed 
this letter to Fremont with one of his own in which 
he warned that officer, without venturing to criticise 
liis policy, that Castro would soon have at least 200 
men in arms against him. ''It is not for me to point 
out to you your line of conduct," he wrote; ''you have 
your instructions from the government; my knowl- 
edge of your character obliges me to believe you will 
follow them; you are of course taking every care 
and safeguard to protect your men, but not knowing 
your actual situation and the people who surround you, 

"March 6th, Larkin to the Castros. Castro, Doc, MS., i. 151; ii. 32-3; 
Larkin'H Off. Corresp., MS., i. 79; Hittell, Pap. Hist., MS., no. 4; Niles' 
J!c(/., Ixxi. 188; Sawt/er's Doc, MS., 4-5. Same date, L. to Fremont, with 
copies of the orders. Id., 4. 

'■^Mar. 7th, Josd to Manuel Castro from Tucho rancho. 'Capt. Frdmont 
came down this morning with 40 men in search of La Torre's party, advising 
some rancheros not to join cither side. It is a declaration. If you can move 
some force, take the Piijaro road to S. Juan. If not, join Narvaez, to whom 
I send an order to quarter all the men he can in the govt house, securing the 
artillerv.' Yours, etc. Original in Jlitlell, Pap. lllst., MS., no. 3. 

">far. 8th, C. to L. Doc Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 286; Larkin' s Off. Corresp., 
MS., 11. 148; Hittell, Pap. Hist., MS., 4; Sawijer's Doc, MS., 5-7; Niles' 
lirg., Ixxi. 188. On an original translation, Larkin notes that Castro has mis- 
interpreted liis note. In Sauv/er's Doc, MS., 26, there is a copy of a procl. 
by (len. Castro on Mar. 8th. Tlie first part is almost literally the same as 
tliatof Mar. 13th, to l>e noted later, and with which Sawyer confounds it. 
The last part is a call to arms witli a view to 'lance the ulcer,' etc. Its gen- 
uineness may be doubted. 


your care may prove insufficient. . .Your encamping 
so near town has caused much excitement. The na- 
tives are firm in the behef that they will break you 
up, and that you can be entirely destroyed by their 
power. In all probability they will attack you; the 
result either way may cause trouble hereafter to resi- 
dent Americans. . .Should it be impossible or incon- 
venient for you to leave California at present, I think, 
in a proper representation to the general and prefecto, 
an arrangement could be made for your camp to be 
continued, but at some greater distance; which arrange- 
ment I should advise if you can offer it."^^ This letter 
was not forwarded till the 9th, when one copy was in- 
trusted to a Californian and another to an American 
courier.^^ On the same day Larkin wrote to John 
Parrott at Mazatlan, enclosing with copies of past 
correspondence an explanation of the critical situation 
of affairs, and a request that a man-of-war be sent to 
California with the least possible delay. These de- 
spatches, with another to the secretary of state, were 
sent to Santa Barbara to overtake the Hannah, which 
had a few days before left Monterey for Mazatlan. 
The result was to hasten the coming of the Portsmouth, 
which arrived in April, ^"^ 

Larkin's communications to Fremont, sent by an 
American whose name does not appear, were inter- 

ns March 8th, L. to F. Larkin's Off. Gorresp., MS., i. 80; Sawyer's Doc, 
MS., 8-11; Niles' Reg., Ixxi. 188. L. ofters to visit the camp. 

^''L.'s letter of March 27th, in Fremont's Cal. Claims, 67, and elsewhere. 
March 8th, L.'s instructions to the couriers. They were to show their de- 
spatches to any official who might demand to see them; but if forcibly de- 
prived of their papers, to note who took them and tell Fremont of what had 
occurred, warning him also to beware of treachery or attack by night, and 
not to expect regular warfare. The couriers were to start the next day (Mon- 
day). Larkin's Off. Corresp.,yLS., i. 72; Sawyer's Doc, MS., 7-8. 

'■''March 9th, L. to sec. state. Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 44; Niles' 
Rerj., Ixxi. 189; Fremont's Cal. Claims, 05. In this despatch, L. complains: 
'Having had over half of my hospital expenses of 1844 cut off, and know not 
why, and even my bill for a flag, I do not feel disposed to hazard much for 
govt, though the life of Capt. Fr(5mont and party may need it. I hardly 
know how to act.' March 9th, L. to the commander of any U. S. ship-of-war 
at Mazatlan or S. Bias. Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., i. 82-3; Sawyer's Doc, 
MS., 13-16. March 9th, L. to Parrott. Fremont's Gal. Claims, 65; Lancey'& 
Cruise, 39-40. 


oe})ted by Castro, and a little later sent to Mexico. ^^ 
Prudencio Espinosa, however, succeeded in reaching 
the explorers' camp with the duplicates; and he came 
back at 8 ?. m. on the 9th with a note in pencil from 
Fremont — his only communication from the camp on 
the Cerro del Gavilan — which was as follows: "I 
this moment received your letters, and without wait- 
ing to read them, acknowledge the receipt, which the 
courier requires instantly. I am making myself as 

trong as possible, in the intention that if we are un- 
justly attacked we will fight to extremity and refuse 
juarter (!), trusting to our country to avenge our 

leatli. No one has reached my camp, and from the 
heights we are able to see troops — with the glass — 
nmstering at St John's and preparing cannon. I 
thank you for your kindness and good wishes, and 
would write more at length as to my intentions did I 
not fear that my letter would be intercepted. We 
have in no wise dong wrong to the people, or the au- 
thorities of the country, and if we are hemmed in and 
assaulted here, we will die, every man of us, under 
the flag of our country. P. S. — I am encamped on 
the top of the sierra, at the head waters of a stream 
which strikes the road to Monterey at the house of 
Don Joaquin Gomez." ^'^ 

2^ April 4th, Prefect Castro to min. of rel., enclosing the captured letters. 
Doc. Hist. Ca/., MS., iii. 157. He sends them as proof of bad faith on the 
part of lx)th Larkin and Frdmont. 

■■'" March 0th (the original bears no date, and most of the printed copies 
are <lated on the 10th, but on an original translation in Ilittell, Pap. Hist., 
MS., (j, I^rkin certities that the note was received 'last night at 8 o'clock,' 
an<l that ho lias allowed a translation to be made at request of Alcalde Diaz, 
to prove that he, the consul, had no improper correspondence with Frdmont, 
anil also in hopes to 'mitigar la sensacion actual'), F. to L., in Larkin's Off. 
Corresp., MS., i. 02-3; Nile.s' /,'efj., Ixxi. 188; Fremont's Cal. Claims, 65-6; 
Cuttn' Conq., 149-50; oowyer's Doc, M.S., 11-12; Lancey's Cruise, 40; Yolo 
Co. Hist., 15, etc. March 10th, receipt of Espinosa for $27.50 for carrying 
the ilespatches. Mont^^rcy, Consulate Arch., MS., ii. 14. March 10th, Alcalde 
Diaz to Manuel Castro. Espinosa was told by us to present himself to you 
l>efore carrying the despatches. All of us think that by means of a confer- 
ence all diflercnces with Fremont might be settled. Castro, Doc. Hist. Cal., 
MS., ii. 37. The phrase 'refuse quarter' in Fremont's note was translated 
by Hartnell 'will not give quarter' (sin dar cuartel), and was naturally not 
liieaHing Ut tiic (Jalifornians. March 19th, Larkin asks Stearns to correct the 
alleged error in the governor's copy, the true meaning being 'will not accept 
quarter.' Larkin'^ Off. Corresp., MS., i. 90. 


Espinosa had carried the despatches under a pass- 
port from Alcalde Diaz, and on his return, at the re- 
quest of that official, Larkin furnished translations of 
those despatches and of Fremont's reply, taking occa- 
sion to suggest to the authorities the importance of 
holdinof a conference with Fremont before resortingf 
to force.^'^ Meanwhile Castro had continued his mili- 
tary preparations, about which we know little beyond 
the fact that he collected about two hundred men at 
San Juan. I have statements from several Califor- 
nians who were with the army; but except some petty 
details and personal incidents— more interesting than 
accurate as a rule — they add nothing to our knowl- 
edge of the campaign. Most of them agree that 
Castro was less eager for an attack than some of his 
subordinates, for which he was unfavorably criti- 
cised.^^ As a matter of course. General Castro did 

^° March 10th, Alcalde Diaz to Larkin, asking for a translation of Fremont's 
letter, hoping it may contribute to allay the present excitement. Sawyer's 
Col. Doc, 16. Same date Larkin to Diaz with the translation (already re- 
ferred to as in my possession), and suggesting an hour's conversation between 
Oastro and Fremont. Larkin' s Off. Correap., MS., i. 86; Vallejo, Doc, MS., 
xii. 188; Sawyer'.'^ Doc, MS., 17-i8; Niks' Reg., Ixxi. 190. L. says he knows 
not if F. will approve his act in giving up the letter, and that he has no au- 
thority over that officer, but is anxious to prevent a useless shedding of blood. 
Same date (11th by error), Diaz to Castro, forwarding the note obtained from 
Larkin. Doc Hist. Cal., MS., iii. 134. Also a private note from Diaz to Cas- 
tro, urging that a conference could do no harm, all at Monterey thinking it 
might prevent hostilities. Hittell, Pap. Hist., MS., 5. Same date, L. to F. , 
wdth information of wdaat he had done. 'My native courier said he was well 
treated by you — that 2,000 men could not drive you. In all cases of courier-s, 
order your men to have no hints or words with them, as it is magnified; this 
one said a man pointed to a tree and said, "There's your life." He expected to 
be led to you blindfolded; says you have 62 men,' etc. Larkiii's Off. Corresp., 
MS., i. 84; Mies' Beg., Ixxi. 190. According to Phelps, Fore and Aft, 279- 
80, Godey, one of Fremont's men, had come in to Monterey; and if this was 
so, he doubtless was the messenger who took Larkin's letter. Phelps was 
there at the time, and says he also wrote to Fremont, offering any assistance in 
his power, and telling him that if driven to any point on the coast he would 
take him and his party on board his vessel. It is strange, however, that 
Godey, if he was at Monterey on the lOtli, had nothing to say about Fremont's 

^^Alvarado, Hist. Cal., MS., v. 159-71; Bico, Mem., MS., 17-19; Torre, 
Bemin., MS., 137-44; Castro, Bel., MS., 165-72; Escobar, Camp., MS., p. 2-7; 
German, Sucesos, MS., 6-9, 17-18. Also narratives by Californians not per- 
sonally engaged in the campaign, in Vallejo, Hist. Cal., MS., v. 97-106; Fer- 
nandez, Cosas, MS., 123-7; Garrillo, Narr., MS., 9-10; Oslo, Hist. Cul., MS., 
457-60; Ord, Ocurrencias, MS., 138-9; Guerra, in Doc Hist. Cal., MS., iv. 
1003-4; Pinto, ApunL, MS., 99-100; Botello, Anales, MS., 130-1; Larios, 
Convulsiones, MS., 24; Ezquer, Mem., MS., 21; Gomez, Lo Que'Sabe, MS., 


not wish to attack Fremont. A much braver man 
than he would have hesitated to lead his men up the 
i>tee[) sides of the Gavilan Peak against a force of 
sixty expert riflemen, protected by a barricade of 
logs — especially when there was no necessity for sucli 
a foolhardy movement. Castro had ordered Fremont 
to quit the country, and he hoped that a show of mili- 
tary preparation, together with Larkin's influence,, 
woukl induce him to obey. His cause was a just one, 
his policy was prudent, his orders — up to this point 
at least— were moderate and dignified in style, and 
liis plans were successful. He was not very brave 
himself, nor were his men efficient soldiers ; but it was 
their good fortune not to have their valor and eflS- 
ciency put to the test on this occasion. Revere, 
Phelps, Tuthill, Lancey, and to greater or less extent 
most others whose writing's on the subject have ap- 
peared in print, .lave c " their vocabulary of 
ridicule and abuse in p.. - ^^'^^achery an"* 
cowardice and braggadocio ol jns in thio 
affair. Their versions are an, \s. of iL.. , ^ a dime-novel 
standpoint; but Castro's brilliant evolutions in the 
plain, his boastful challenges to combat, his desperate 
charges u]) the hill just out or rirle-range, like the pa- 
tient waiting of Fremont's gallant band day after day 
in the v *^ hope of an attack by the foe — have no 
foundation more substantial than the lively and patri- 
otic imagination of the writers cited.^^ Of the two, 
Fremont made by far the greater fool of himself. 

276-80; Garnica, liecuerdos, MS., 10-11; Amador, Mem., MS., 165. Though 
the Califomian narratives add nothing to what we learn from contemporary 
corresp. on the events of March 1846, yet many of them give a very fair and 
imprejudiced version of those events. 

Martin, one of Frdmont's men. Narrative, MS., 11-12, gives a very inac- 
curate account of the operations around Gavilan. Wm F. Swasey, Cal. 
'4-5-6, MS., 5-7, tells us that from S. Jose John Daubenbiss was sent by 
Weber to the north for aid, while the writer was sent to Fremont's camp to 
tell him what was being done for him. Swasey and Julius Martin were, 
however, captured by Castro near S. Juan, and were unable to carry out their 
misaion. lie learned at Gomez rancho that F. had left his camp. Mention 
of the Gavilan affair in BiduxdVa Cal. I84I-8, MS., p. 155-6; Belden's Hid. 
Statement, MS., 45-6. Bidwell disapproves Fremont's actions. 

*^ licvert's Tour, 46-8; Phelj'n' Fore and Aft, 277-84; TuthiWs Hist. 


Early, on the 10th, Prefect Castro sent out a sum- 
mons to the people of the north, calling upon them to 
join the force at San Juan, and aid in the work of re- 
pelling invasion and vindicating the national honor.^" 
The response did not come until the occasion for 
alarm was past, which was indeed but a few hours 
later; for before noon of the same day, Castro learned 
through his scouts that the camp on the Gavilan had 

Cal., 163-5; Lancey^s Cruise, 39-43. Of each of these Morks there is much 
to be said in praise, as will be seen elsewhere; but in this matter they 
have given themselves up entirely to patriotism, prejudice, and burlesque. 
Thomas H. Benton, in his letter of Nov. 9, 1840, Nilea' Re<j., Ixxi. 173-4, 
struck the key-note of the abuse showered upon Castro ever since. Bentoi, 
however, made an absurd blunder, though excusable at the time, through his 
ignorance of Californian geography. Castro, according to this writer, gave 
Fremont permission to winter with his troops in the S. Joaquin Valley, but 
no sooner had F. brought his men ' to that beautiful valley ' than Castro pre- 
pared to attack him on the pretext that he was exciting Americans to revolt! 
The sec. of war in his report of Dec, 5th takes a similar view briefly. //. 
Ex. Doc. no. 4, p. 50, 29th cong. 2d sess. 

Other printed accounts of Fremont's operations — besides the documentaiy 
ones so often cited \\\ N lies' P ^ ~' ' ^8-90, a'^d Fr4mo7it's Cal. Claim^, 
1848 — are found in Cutt^-C -c-ith sonife documents; SouWs An- 

ji^ls, 91; Bigelow's M-h^'^^x ^^,±36; Upham's Life of Fremont, 211- 

■j; HalVs Hi"' ^ ViipCey's War with Mex., i. 286-92; Moll- 

liaiisen, Tagebu >'s Four Years, ii. 206-7; Honolulu Friend, 

iv. 153-4; Frignet, «u8., ,, .,-, 

^3 March 10th, p tuct tc ' ub-|)refect of Yerba Buena, and by him tran- 
scribed to the com. oa the northern line. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 189; Castro, 
poc.s M.j., ii. 39. March 10th, Alcalde Diaz to prefect. All tranquil at 
Monterey. Citizens anxious^ ^'- "-siting news. /cZ.,ii. 37. March 11th, same 
to same. No signs of outbreaK among the foreigners. Id., ii. 47. March 
11th, Andres Castillero at Sta Clara to Vallejo. The writer will at once join 
Castro. Lancey^s Cruise, 40. March 12th, Sub-prefect Guerrero at Yerba 
Buena to the receptor, asking for funds to buy war material ^y^ <ihe men who 
march to the defence of country and laws, ' sufocados por uix«- ^erza armada 
estrangera.' Pinto, Doc, MS., ii. 227. March 14th, a courier sent by Marsh 
annoi>Bced Fremont's position at Sutter's Fort. N. Helv. Diary, MS., 39; but 
17th according to Suiter's Diary, 7. March 14th, Guerrero from Sierra Mo- 
rena to prefect, narrating the preparations under his orders. He had raised 
52 men, including some naturalized foreigners and Englishmen; Estudillo had 
raised 38 men (in Contra Costa?), and they had marched to S. Josd, Now 
that Fremont had retreated, the men would like at least to go to the Alto del 
Gavilan to raise the Mexican flag. All were ready in case of new alarms. 
Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 49. March 14th, Com. Sanchez to corporal in command 
at S. Rafael. He must come with all his men to join the force at S. Juan. 
Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 193. March 14th, 15th, Vallejo at Sonoma to au- 
thorities of S. Rafael, and to the people of the north. A stirring appeal to 
rally for the defence of Mexican sovereignty. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 185, 
188-9, 195-6. March 15th, Alcalde Pacheco of S. Jos6 to Castro, on the pa- 
triotism and warlike spirit of the people of his town, who now have been per- 
mitted to retire to their farms, etc. HitteK, Pap. Hist., MS., 7. March 
17th-21st. Clyman, Diary and Note-Book, encamped at the head of Napa 
Valley, heard of the Fremont afiiair and of the call upon all citizens to assem- 
ble at Sonoma for defence. On the 22d he heard of Fremont's flight. 
Hist. Cal.. Vol. V. 2 


been abandoned in the night — that of March 9th- 
10th; and still later in theday it was ascertained that 
Fremont had moved off eastward and fortified another 
camp. Next morning, John Gilroy is said to have 
been sent by Castro with a message, but to have 
found the second camp also deserted, its occupants 
having continued their retreat to the San Joaquin.^^ 
Naturally the Californian chiefs were jubilant at Fre- 
mont's flight, which they, somewhat pardonably under 
the circumstances, regarded as a great victory for 
themselves. The citizen soldiers were dismissed to 
tlieir homes, with instructions to hold themselves in 
leadiness for action should the attempted invasion be 
i-enewed; and the leaders, in their proclamations to 
the people and reports to their superiors announcing 
lesults, indulged rather freely in the gasconade deemed 
an essential part of such documents. It is fair to 
state, however, that this feature of the documents in 
cjuestion has been most grossly exaggerated, writers 
having gone so far even as to print imaginary de- 
spatches — some of them "signed with gunpowder on 
the field of battle." The purport of the genuine doc- 
uments — of which I translate in a note the one that 

^* March 10th, Prefect Castro to Alcalde Diaz, acknowledging receipt of 
letter of same date witli copy of Frdmont's note, and announcing that the fort 
had l)een abandoned. Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., iii. 132. Larkin in his report of 
Marcli 27th, Niles' Reg., Ixxi, 189, etc., states that in a postscript to a letter 
written on the evening of the 10th, Gen. Castro said ' that Capt. Fremont had 
crossed a small river, and was then about three miles distant from them.' L. 
also mentioned Gilroy's mission. In later years a rumor has gained currency 
that (iilroy was sent to suggest an arrangement by which the forces of Fre- 
mont and Castro were to unite, declare Cal. independent, and march against 
Pico! It would require the strongest of confirmatory proofs— and there exists 
not the slightest evidence— to outweigh the inherent absurdity of this rumor, 
though it has l>een advanced as a fact by Lancey and others. Gilroy was sent 
to F., if at all, eitlier in accordance with Larkin's recommendation in favor of 
a conference {^*ee note 30). or merely as a spy to learn F.'s position and inten- 
tions. Another current rumor among tlie Californians, which seems to have 
but little foundation in fact or probajjility, is to the effect that Capistrano 
Lopez, Castro's scout, revealed to F. the preparations that were being made 
against him, receiving gold for the information. The exact locali'ty of F.'s 
second camp— somewhere in the hills east of 8. Juan— is not known to me. 
In his map, with U. S. Govt Doc, .31st cong. 1st sess., H. Ex. Doc, 17, two 
crossmgs are indicated, one by the Pacheco Pass, and another by the S. 
Juan Pass farther south. Pinto, Ajnint., MS., 99, says the route was by Trea 
rinos and Carrizalito; he adds that many foolish people have tried to find the 
a large sum of money which Fremont by tradition had been forced to bury. 


gave most offence — was that certain audacious adven- 
turers, who had dared to raise a foreign flag on Cah- 
fornian soil, had been induced to flee ignominiously at 
the sight of two hundred patriots resolved to defend 
their country, leaving behind a part of their camp 
equipage — for Fremont had abandoned in one of his 
camps a few worn-out articles not worth removing.^' 

^^ March r2th, Gen. Castro to alcalde of S. Jos^. Fremont has fled. Men 
to be disbanded with thanks. S. Jose, Arch., Loose Papers, 35. Prefect Cas- 
tro to same effect. Id., 25. March 14th, similar communication. Id., 30. 
March 13th, Gen. Castro's proclamation to the people (see below), in Vallejo, 
Doc, MS., xxxiv. 186. This was posted in the billiard-saloon, and Larkin 
tried without success to get a copy of it. LarUn's Off. Corresp., MS., i. 87; 
Niks' Beg., Ixxi. 190; Sawyer's Doc, MS., 25-6. Sawyer copies a transla- 
tion of an earlier proclamation as the one posted in the billiard-room. 
March 14th, Prefect Castro to Gov. Pico. A report of the whole affair, enclos- 
ing past corresp., etc. Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., iii. 150; Dept. St. Pap., Ben. 
Pre/, y Juzg., MS., ii. 88-90. March 14th, Sub-prefect Guerrero to Vallejo, 
announcing Fremont's flight ' en virtud de haber visto el entusiasmo de los 
hijos del pais.' Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 194. March 19th, Leidesdorfi" to Lar- 
kin. The news is that F. has run away, leaving a green cloak, 3 or 4 axes, 
some cash(!), and cooking utensils. Larki)i's Doc, MS., iv. 72. No date, 
Rico to Castro. Rumor that F. was coming back to renew the struggle. He 
had told the rancheros to remain neutral or the devil would carry them off. 
Castro, Doc, MS., i. 129. 

Later communications, in which events of the Gavilan are narrated, and 
which I have had occasion to quote already, are as follows: March 27th, Lar- 
kin to sec. state, in Lai-kill's Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 45-7; Niles' Reg., Ixxi. 
189; Fremont's Cal. Claims, 66-8; Cutts' Conq., 145-6. The writer takes 
some pains in this and other letters to show that F. moved away leisurely, and 
not from fear of Castro. April 1st, Gen. Castro to min. of war, from Monitor 
Repuhlicano, May 10th, in Niles' Reg., Ixxi. 187-8, criticised by Benton in Id., 
Ixxi. Castro writes : * Having organized a force of 150 men, I went to the vicinity 
of the sierra where Fremont had intrenched himself under the American flag. I 
was prepared to attack him in the night of the 10th, when he, taking advantage 
of the darkness, abandoned the fortification, doubtless precipitately, as we 
found there the next day some iron instruments and other things; and in trying 
to find the trail to know what direction they took, it was impossible on account 
of their having withdrawn in complete dispersion. This obliged me to stay 
for some days, until by some persons from the Tulares I was informed that 
the adventurers were taking the road by the river to the north.' April 2d, 
Larkin to sec. state. Similar in purport to that of March 27th. Thinks that 
F., who had been in no real danger, has gone to Sta Barbara. Larkin' s Off. 
Corresp., MS., ii. 48-9; Ndes' Reg., Ixxi. 189-90. April 4th, Prefect Castro 
to min. of rel. Doc Hist. Cal., MS., iii. 157. April 18th, L. to sec. state. 
Castro and the rest state, and writer is inclined to believe, that the Cali- 
fomians had no intention of attacking F., but acted solely for effect in Mexico! 
Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 51. 

Castro's proclamation of March 13th, the original of which is in my pos- 
session, may be literally translated as follows: 'Fellow-citizens — a party of 
highwaymen who, without respecting the laws or authorities of the department, 
boldly entered the country under the leadership of Don J. C. Fremont, captain 
in the U. S. army, have disobeyed the orders of this comandancia general 
and of the prefecture of the 2d district, by which said leader was notified im- 
mediately to march beyond the bounds of our territory; and without replying 


Fremont's act in defying the Californian authorities 
and raising the stars and stripes over his Gavilan camp 
had been, as we have seen, a most unwise and unjust- 
ifiable one. He had taken the step under a rash im- 
|)ulse of the moment, strengthened by the advice of 
irresponsible followers. As a United States officer, 
lie had put himself in a false and compromising posi- 
tion — and this even if it be admitted that he had been 
unfairly treated by Castro, which w^as by no means 
true. A little reflection made clear to him the error 
he had committed. Having once taken the step, 
nothing remained but to retreat, or to raise the stand- 
ard of revolt in favor of independence, and call on 
resident foreigners to support him. What he saw 
with his field-sflass at San Juan indicated that he must 
decide promptly; and Larkin's communication threw 
additional light on the real state of aflairs. Fremont 
was not yet prepared to declare himself openly a fili- 
buster; and though it was a severe blow to his pride, 
he was obliged to run away. Larkin's letter arrived 
late in the afternoon of March 9th, and in the dark- 
ness of the same night the brave explorers — for their 
bravery is unquestionable, despite their retreat and 
the absurd fame of dime-novel heroes accorded them 
by many writers — left their famous camp on the Ga- 
vilan. **^^ Fremont's method of excusing his blunder 
was to say very little about it in detail, to allude to 

to the said notes in writing, the said captain merely sent a verbal message 
that on the Sierra del (xavilan he was prepared to resist the forces which the 
authorities might send to attack him. Tiic following measures of this com- 
mand and of the prefecture, putting in action all possible elements, produced 
as a result that he at the sight of 200 patriots abandoned the camp which he 
occupied, leaving in it some clothing and other w^ar material, and according 
to the scouts took the route to the Tulares. Compatriots, the act of unfurling 
the American flag on tlio hills, the insults and threats ofiFered to the author- 
ities, are worthy of execration and hatred from Mexicans; prepare, then, to 
defend our independence in order that united we may repel with a strong 
hand the audacity of men who, receiving every mark of true hospitality in 
our country, repay with such ingratitude the "favors obtained from our cor- 
diality and benevolence. Headquarters at San Juan Bautista, March 13, 

^'''Martin, A7frr., MS., 12, tells us that tiiey left the fort on receipt of or- 
ders from J^rkiil. This suggests the idea that Fremont may very likely have 
put the matter in that light before his men, who were naturally not pleased 
'> ith the retreat, and who knew little of a consul's powers. 


Castro's broken promise, and to imply rather than 
state directly — the rest being left to enthusiastic 
friends — that he acted in self-defence, Castro having 
raised the whole country in arms against him. The 
reader knows, however, not only that Castro broke 
no promise, but that he made no threats of attack ex- 
cept in case his order to quit the district should be 
disobeyed — an order which Fremont could have 
obeyed quite as well on the 6th as on the 10th of 
March. In a letter to Mrs Fremont, written a little 
later, the captain says: "About the middle of next 
month, at latest, I will start for home. The Spaniards 
were somewhat rude and inhospitable below, and or- 
dered us out of the country after having given me 
permission to winter there. My sense of duty did not 
permit me to fight them, but we retired slowly and 
growlingly before a force of three or four hundred men 
and three pieces of artillery. Without a shadow of a 
cause, the governor suddenly raised the whole country 
against us, issuing a false and scandalous proclamation. 
Of course I did not dare to compromise the United 
States, against which appearances would have been 
strong; but though it w^as in my power to increase 
my party by many Americans, I refrained from com- 
mitting a solitary act of hostility or impropriety. For 
my own part, I have become disgusted with everything 
belonging to the Mexicans. Our government will 
not require me to return by the southern route against 
the will of this government; I shall therefore return 
by the heads of the Missouri. "^^ To what extent these 
statements are true or false, the reader can judge. 

Descending into the great valley, perhaps by the 
Pacheco Pass, on March 11th, Fremont crossed the 
San Joaquin in boats on the 13th, reached the Stan- 

2^ April Ist, F. on the Sacramento to Mrs F. Nilen' Req. , Ixxi. 190. Hittell, 
Hist. S. F. , 99, etc. , gives briefly a correct view of Fremont's operations. He 
seems to be the only prominent writer who has not been led astray in this 
matter. Gilbert, in Yolo Co. Hist., also takes a correct view of the matter, 
as do a few other writers in similar publications. 


islaus the IGtli, and arrived at New Helvetia the 21st, 
pitching his camp just across the American River. 
Three days later he moved on up the valley, visiting 
Keyser's rancho on Bear River, Cordua's on the Yuba, 
and Neal's on Butte Creek, and arriving at Lassen's 
on Deer Creek the 30th of March. The company 
remained here until April 5th; and after a week's trip 
up the valley to Cow Creek and back, they encamped 
again at Lassen's on April llth-14th.^® 

While in the Sacramento Valley, Fremont sent 
Talbot down the river to obtain supplies at Yerba 
Buena.^ He also sent out men in various directions 
to buy horses from the Indians, a transaction that 
appears not to have given entire satisfaction to the 
former owners of the stolen animals. Testimony on 
this subject is, however, not of the best.^'^ Carson and 
Martin relate that while at Lassen's, the explorers 
were called upon by the settlers for aid against the 
Indians, who were threatening a general attack. The 
result was a raid in which the Indians were defeated 
at their village, a large number being slain in the 

Yet another episode of the stay in this region was a 

^^ Fremont's Geog. Mem., 20-7, 57; Sutter's Diary, 7; Martin's Narr., MS., 
12; Lancey's Cruise, 43-5. One of F.'s men arrived at Sutter's on the 20th. 
N. Jfelv. Diary, MS., 39. Sutter, Personal Remin., MS., 138, etc., describes 
Fr<5mont'8 actions at this time as having been very mysterious and sus- 

3" Phelj}.'*'' Fore and Aft, 283. Talbot left Sutter's on the launch on March 
26tii. N. Jfelv. Diary, MS. He returned April 9th. Id. April IGth, Leides- 
dorff writes that he is daily expecting a draft from Fremont on account of 
money and eupplies furnished since he left S. Juan. Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., 
iii. 172. 

*° Martin, Narr., MS., 12-13, tells us that Godey and himself were sent 
to the Tulares, and purchased 187 animals very cheap. Sutter, Person. Remin., 
MS., 145-8, mentions the purchase of horses in the valley, and says he wrote 
U) F. at Lassen'.s, urgiijrr him to leave the stolen animals behind, a letter 
which was not answered, and the writing of which F. never forgave. This 
«tory is probably true, as Sutter made a similar statement, and enclosed a copy 
of his letter in a communication to Castro of May 31st. 21 horses that had 
Ix'cn Htolen from settlers had been taken away to Oregon. Castro, Doc, MS., 
ii. 41. 

*' Peters' Life of Kit Carson, 254; Martin's Narr., MS., 13-14. Carson 
tells UH that the Ind. were preparing to attack the rancheros, ' probably at the 
instigation of the Mexicans'! Martin says that more than 175 Ind. were slain 
in less than three hours, they having been attacked while engaged in a war- 
dance. Lancey, Cruise, 44, locates the fight on Reading's rancho. 


grand fiesta, or barbecue, given by Fremont's men to a 
party of immigrants who were encamped in the valley, 
having come from Oregon the year before, and being 
now engaged in preparations for a return trip, some to 
Oregon, others to the States. The feasting and danc- 
ing — there were women in the immigrant company, 
though border men could dance without female part- 
ners upon occasion — lasted two days; and an Indian 
servant who was present carried south the sensational 
report that the assemblage was one of two hundred 
armed foreigners, whose purpose w^as to fall upon Mon- 
terey a,s soon as Indian reenforcements could be ob- 
tained from Oregon 1*^ Clyman, one of the immigrants 
who proposed to quit the country, though not appar- 
ently one of those present at the barbecue, desired to 
unite his company to that of Fremont for the return 
trip — or, as he claims, for a movement against the Cal- 
ifornians — but his proposition was declined.^ 


Leaving Lassen's on or about April 14th, Fremont 
proceeded northward to Oregon."^^ On May 8th, 

■•2 May 6th, sub-prefect to prefect. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 79; Dept. St. 
Pap., Ben. Pre/, y Juzg., MS., ii. 85. May 3ist, Sutter to Castro. Castro, 
Doc, MS., ii. 4L See also Martin's Narr., 14-15. The Indian was an ex- 
neophyte of S. Jos6 named AntoUno, who was at work for Francis Day. 

*^ Clijman's JSlote Boole, MS., 18, 26-7. A letter from Fr(§inont is copied 
from the original in Cly man's possession. In the copy it is dated, 'Camp on 
Feather River, Dec. 19, 1845,' but this of course is all wrong. The letter, if 
genuine, which there is no other reason to doubt, must have been written in 
March or April 1846. Clyman and party started for the states at the end of 
April from Johnson's rancho. I quote the letter as showing, in connection 
with that of April 1st to Mrs Fremont, the captain's feelings and plans. 
'Your favor of the 21st ult. has been received through the kindness of Mr 
Flint. . .1 am placed in a peculiar position. Having carried out to the best 
of my ability my instructions to explore the far west, I see myself on the eve 
of my departure for home confronted by the most perplexing complications. 
I have received information to the effect that a declaration of war between 
our government and Mexico is probable, but so far this news has not been 
confirmed. The Californian authorities object to my presence here, and 
threaten to overwhelm me. If peace is preserved, I have no right or business 
here; if war ensues, I shall be outnumbered ten to one, and be compelled 
to make good my retreat, pressed by a pursuing enemy. It seems that the 
only way open to me is to make my way back eastward, and as a military 
man you must perceive at once that an increase of my command would only 
encumber and not assist my retreat through a region where wild game is the 
only thing procurable in the way of food. Under these circumstances, I must 
make my way back alone, and gratefully decline your offer of a company of 
hardy warriors.' 

** Fremont's Geo(j. Mem., 31-2, 57-8; Fremont's map in U. 8. Govt Doc, 


having passed up by the western shore of Klamath 
l..ake, he encamped near the north end of that body 
< f water. Late that evening two horsemen, Samuel 
Xeal and William Sigler, rode into camp with the 
news that a United States officer was two days be- 
liind with despatches, protected by a small escort and 
probably in great danger. Next morning Fremont 
took nine of his men, Carson, Maxwell, Godey, 
Owens, Lajeunesse, and four Delawares, hastened 
])ack with Neal and Sigler, and after a ride of some 
twenty -five miles — not sixty miles as was claimed at 
tlie time and has been often repeated — he met at 
nightfall Lieutenant Archibald H. Gillespie. This 
officer, of whose arriv^al I shall have more to say 
presently, had reached Sutter's April 28th, and Las- 
sen's the 1st of May. From that point, with only 
five companions, Lassen, Neal, Sigler, Stepp, and a 
negro servant named Ben, he started May 2d on 
Fremont's trail. On the 7th the tw^o men were sent 
in advance, and the others encamped at the outlet of 
Klamath Lake, unable to ford the river, and having 
nothing to eat for forty hours. On the morning of 
the 9th, a party of Indians made their appearance, 
who in great apparent kindness gave the travellers a 
fresh salmon for food, and ferried them over the 
water in canoes. After a da3^'s journey of some 
thirty miles, Gillespie met Fremont at sunset, as re- 
lated, at a stream named from the events of that 
night Ambuscade Creek. ^^ 

SUtcong. Ist sess., H. Ex. no. 17. The route is indicated by the following 
htations: Deer Creek, April 14tli; Mill Cr., Antelope Cr., Nozah Cr. (opposite 
Cottonwood Cr.), April '2oth; Brant's Cr., 26th; Campbell's Cr., 27th; Upper 
Sacramento (Tit River) above Fall River, 29th; same, upper end of Round 
Valley, 30th; Rhett Lake, eastern shore, May 1st; McCrady's River, 4th; 
iK-nny's branch, 0th; Ambuscade Cr., 7th; north end of Klamath Lake, 8th, 
f»th— and returning'— Corral Cr., Torrey River, Wetowah Cr. (all running 
into the east side of Klamath Lake), 11th, 12th, 14th; Russell's branch, 19th; 
Toinsett's River, 20th; Myers' branch, 2 Ist; and Deer Cr., or Lassen's, May 


The sixteen tired travellers retired early after the 
two parties were united on May 9th, and were soon 
sleeping soundly — Fremont sitting up later than the 
rest to read his despatches and letters from home. 
The Indians were deemed friendly, and no watch was 
kept. Just before midnight the camp was attacked 
by savages. Basil Lajeunesse and a Delaware were 
killed as they slept, by blows from axes. The sound 
of these blows aroused Carson and Owens, who gave 
the alarm; when the Indians fled, after killing with 
their arrows a Delaware named Crane, and leaving 
dead a chief of their number, who proved to be the 
very man from whom Gillespie had that morning- 
been furnished with food and aid farther south. Next 
morning they started northward to join the main 
body, burying the bodies of their slain comrades on 
the way. The whole party started on the 11th down 
the eastern side of the lake, wreaking terrible ven- 
geance on the innocent natives along the route, if we 
may credit the statement of Kit Carson, who played 
a leading part in the butcheries. They reached Lassen's 
rancho on their return the 24th, and a few days later 
moved their camp down to the Buttes.*^ Gillespie's 
arrival had little to do with the alleged motive of Fre- 
mont's return from the north, which motive was the 

MS., 157-60. Sutter, in his Personal Remln., MS., complains that Gillespie 
borrowed his favorite $300 mule and brought it back wind-broken. In N. 
Helv. Diary, MS., 46, G.'s arrival at Sutter's is recorded, and it is stated 
that Stepp and Downing went on with him next day. 

^^ See, besides most of the citations of the preceding note, Peters' Life of 
Kit Carson, 255-69; Abbott's Kit Carson, 249-55. Carson goes very fully 
into details of Indian fights on the return trip, noting the burning of one large 
village after many of its people had been slain; also the gallant manner in 
which his (Carson's) life was saved on one occasion by Fr6mont. Several 
writers speak of a curious wooden coat-of-mail worn by one of the Ind. war- 
riors; and all speak of the bravery shown by these natives. Accounts or 
mentions of the affair also in Martin's Narr., 16-21; June 1st, Larkin to sec. 
state. Larkin's Of. Corresp., MS., ii. 5Q: Smuclcer's Life Fremont, 23-6; Tut- 
hill's Hist. Cal., 166-7; Honolulu Friend, iv. 154; Vallejo, Hist. Cal. MS., 
V. 109; Osio, Hist. Cal., MS., 461-3. Several mention the absurd suspicion 
that the Klamaths were instigated to attack Fremont by Castro's agents ! 
Sutter, Diary, 7; also N-. Helv. Diary, MS., 49-50, notes Neal's arrival from 
the north on May 25th, and Gillespie's on May 30th. Capt. Phelps, Fore and 
Aft, 285-6, succeeds in condensing many errors into a small space. See also 
Mollhausen, Tarjebuch, 288-9; Frignet, Californie, 68-9. 


difficulty of crossing the mountains into Oregon on 
account of the snow. The captain had nearly deter- 
mined — so he said — to change his route before he 
heard of Gillespie's approach ; and he still announced, 
late in May, his intention to return homeward by a 
southern route.*' I shall have more to say on certain 
phases of this topic in another chapter. 

A letter from Buchanan to Larkin dated October 
17, 1845, has already been quoted in this history, be- 
ing a most important document, never before made 
public.*^ It contained a clear statement of the policy 
of the United States respecting California; appointed 
Larkin a confidential agent of the government to aid 
in carrying out that policy; and contained also the 
following passage: ''Lieutenant Archibald H. Gilles- 
pie of the marine corps will immediately proceed to 
Monterey, and will probably reach you before this de- 
spatch. He is a gentleman in whom the president 
reposes entire confidence. He has seen these instruc- 
tions, and will cooperate as a confidential agent with 
you in carrying them into execution." Gillespie left 
Washington early in November 1845. He carried 

*^ May 24th, F. to Benton. ' I have but a faint hope that this note will 
reach you before I do ... I shall now proceed directly homewards by the Col- 
orado.' Nut's' lief/., Ixxi. 191. In his letter of July 2r)th, he says: 'Snow was 
falling steadily and heavily in the mountains, which entirely surrounded and 
dominated the elevated valley region into which we had penetrated. In the 
cast and north and west, barriers absolutely impassable barred our road; we 
had no provisions; our animals were already feeble, and while any other way 
was open, I could not bring myself to attempt such a doubtful enterprise as a 
pa.ssage of these unknown mountains in the dead of winter. Every day the 
snow was falling; and in the face of the depressing influence exercised on the 
people by the loss of our men, and the unpromising appearance of things, I 
judged it inexpedient to pursue our journey fartlier in this direction, and de- 
termined to retrace my steps and carry out the views of the govt by reaching 
the frontier on the line of the Colorado River.' Id., Ixxi. 191. Larkin wrote 
on June Ist, ' FrC-mont now starts for the States.' Larkln'sOf. Corresp., MS., 
ii. 06. May 24th, (Gillespie wrote: 'There was too much snow upon the 
mountains to cross. He now goes home from here.' /(/., Doc, MS., iv. 134. 
In his testimony of 1848 Frdmont says that 'his progress farther north was 
then barred by hostile Indians and impassable snowy mountains, and he was 
nieditating some change in his route when' Gillespie came, etc. Fremont's 
f'al. Claims, 12. It was the idea of Carson and others of the men that it was 
<;illc8pie'H despatches which prompted the return. 

*^ JJuchanan'a Instruc, MS. See long quotation in chap. xxv. of vol. v. 


with him a duplicate copy of the document just cited, 
which he destroyed on the way, after having committed 
its contents to memory, in fear that it might fall into 
the hands of the Mexicans/^ He carried also letters 
of introduction from Buchanan to Larkin and to Fre- 
mont ;^° and a packet containing private correspond- 
ence from Senator Thomas H. Benton addressed to 
Fremont, his son-in-law.^^ The exact purport of Ben- 
ton's letters has never been made public; whether, as 
supplemented by Gillespie's oral communications, they 
went further in their political significance than the of- 
ficial written instructions, is a question that has always 
been wrapped in mystery, and one that may be more 
intelligibly and profitably considered a little later, 
when I come to narrate Fremont's subsequent acts. 

Gillespie went under his true name, but in the as- 
sumed character of an invalid merchant travelling for 
his health. He was delayed for a time at the city of 
Mexico in consequence of the Paredes revolution; but 
finally reached Mazatlan and sailed on the U. S. man- 
of-war Cyane, Mervine commander, via Honolulu for 
Monterey, where he arrived April 17th, a month later 
than he had anticipated at his departure from the 
States. Entering at once into communication with 
Larkin, he remained at Monterey two days, as did the 
Cyane also to take back the consul's despatches.^^ 

** Gillespie's testimony of 1848, in Fremont's Cat. Claims, 30. He states: 
'Early in Nov. 1845, I received orders from the president and secretary of 
the navy, Mr Bancroft, to proceed to Cal. by way of Vera Cruz, and the 
shortest route through Mexico to Mazatlan, with instructions to watch over 
the interest of the U. S. in Cal., and to counteract the influence of any foreign 
or European agents who might be in that country with objects prejudicial to 
the U. S. ' Gillespie's written instructions, if they were put in writing, are 
not extant, but of course they were substantially the same as those to Lar- 

^°Nov. 1, 1845. ' I take pleasure in introducing to you the bearer hereof, 
Mr Archibald H. Gillespie, as a gentleman of respectability and worth. He 
is about to visit the north-west coast of America on business, and should he 
stop on his way at Monterey, allow me to bespeak for him your kind atten- 
tion. You will find him to be in every respect worthy of your regard. Yours 
very respectfully, James Buchanan. To Thomas O. Larkin, Esq.' Original 
in Larkini's Doc, MS., iii. 362. This letter is not mentioned in Gillespie's 
testimony. That addressed to Fremont was doubtless of the same purport. 

^^ Gillespie's testimony; also Fremont's deposition in Fremont's Cal. Claims, 

^2 April 17th, G. on board the Ci/aneto L. 'Confidential. Enclosed I send 


Gillespie's true character as an officer — if not as a 
oonfidential agent, or 'spy' as the Mexicans would 
somewhat plausibly have termed him — was suspected 
from the first by the Californians ; but he was not hin- 
dered from starting on the 19th for Yerba Buena on 
his way to find Fremont, after having been entertained 
at a grand ball given by Ex-governor Alvarado, or at 
least at his house. It is stated, however, that the 
lieutenant had to depart secretly in the night while 
the ball was in progress, so great was the suspicion 
of the authorities, strengthened as some say by a 
warning which David Spence had received from Maza- 
tlan.''^ He left San Francisco April 25th in a boat 
furnished by Leidesdorff, to whom he seems to have 
announced the certainty of war with Mexico, repre- 
senting that to be the nature of his message to Fre- 

you a letter of introduction, which I doubt not you will understand, and as I 
have an important despatch for you, as also other sealed packages, I will be 
oljliged by your coming on board as early as possible.' Larkin's Doc, MS., 
iv. 91. April 17th, L. to Mervine, requesting him to remain until the 19th 
for despatches. Same date, Mervine consents. Id., iv. 92; Id., Off. Corresp., 
MS., i. 92. 

'•^ April 19th, Capt. Mervine and his officers cannot attend the dance. Lar- 
kiii's Doc. , MS. , iv. 94. Same date, Larkin to Leidesdorff, introducing Gillespie 
as a friend in ill health, who 'wishes to travel through your part of the coun- 
try to enjoy tlic climate,' etc. 'I l)elieve he has some personal acquaintance 
with Capt. Fremont, and may wish to see him if the trouble and expense is 
not too much.' Furnish all needed aid, etc. Id., Off. Corresp., MS., i. 93. 
June 1st, L. writes to sec. state, 'Mr G. was at once known here as an officer, 
or fully supposed to l)e so, and could not pass for a merchant. . .In fact, so long 
as it is not correctly known, I prefer that he should be supposed to be what 
he actually is.' Id., ii. 50, oG. 

ValUjij, J fist. Cal., MS., v. 106-9, says that Spence received by the Cyane 
a box of quinine, which under a false bottom contained a letter of warning 
against (iillespie. The same letter or one of similar purport was addressed to 
13 other men in the north. Castro tried to make him drunk at the ball, but he 
kept hi.s head, and left about midnight with horses and guides furnished by Lar- 
kin. Vallejo was in Monterey at the time, and was not in favor of allowing 
Gillespie to depart; iy.'t no proofs could be brought against him. Alvarado, 
J list. Cal., MS., V. 172-8, tells a similar story, but says Spence did not re- 
veal his secret, except perhaps that his wife, an old flame of the general, may 
have dropped a hint to jiim. Alvarado says that Gillespie pretended to speak 
Spanish very badly, though able to speak it fluently. See also Ord, Ocurrencias, 
Ms., 140-1; Torres, Porip<'cias, MS., 46-8. 

"April 2.">th, Leidesdorff to Larkin. Gillespie to start in a few hours. 
'Glorious news for Frc-mont! I think I see him smile. By your letters it 
apiK'ars that this news was not generally known; however, they must have 
some news here, as the sub-prefect is busily despatching couriers,' etc. Lar- 
kin's Doc., MS., iv. 104. On April 23d, Larkin sent (iillespie a letter on arrival 


Arriving at New Helvetia on the 28th, the confi- 
dential agent hurried on up the valley, overtook Fre- 
mont, and returned with him, as I have already related, 
at the end of May. Before I proceed with the record 
of the two officers' subsequent operations in June, 
there are other important matters to be disposed of. 
I may note here, however, that Sutter warned Castro 
that, despite Gillespie's pretence of being an invalid 
with private letters for Fremont, he was really, as 
Sutter suspected, an officer of the U. S. army and the 
bearer of important despatches — indeed, he had ad- 
mitted himself to be an officer, though claiming to be 
on the retired list.^^ 

of the Portsmouth, etc. It was not received until G. had returned from the 
north. Lancey's Cruise, 41. April 30th, Thomas Cole gets $40 from Larkin 
for carrying the said letter. Monterey, Consulate Arch., MS., ii. 14. 

s^May 31st, Sutter to Castro. Original in Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 41, 98. Of 
course it was Sutter's duty as a Mexican official to give this warning; but the 
act does not exactly accord with some of the captain's later pretensions of 
favor to the U. S. On Gillespie's mission — including his supposed secret 
instructions, to be noticed later — see also Fremont'' s Cal. Claims, Report, 817 
(30th cong. 1st sess., H. Report); Cooke's Conquest, 203-5; Swasey's Cal., MS., 
45-6; Jay's Mex. War, 150-4; Gleeson's Hist. Cath. Church, ii. 159-60; Clark's 
Speech on Cal. Claims; U. S. Govt Doc, 36th cong. 1st sess., H. Rept. Court 
of Claims, no. 229, vol. iv. ; Price, in Cal. Ass. Pioneers, 1875, p. 18-19; Tut- 
hill's Hist. Cal, 166-8; Dunbar's Romance, 31-2. 



January-June, 1846. 

A Fruitless Controversy — Alvarado as Congressman — CastaSares and 


Affairs in Mexico — Iniestra's Expedition — Tellez and Morales — 
Cambuston and Castro — Valle and Treasury Troubles — Assembly 
— Guerra Sent to Monterey — Return of J. A. Carrillo — Pico as 
Constitutional Governou — Military Junta at Monterey — Adhe- 
sion TO President Paredes— Measures for Defence — Pico's Protests 
— Vallejo's Position — Guerra Sent to Angeles — Consejo General 
DE Pueblos Unidos at Santa Barbara — Castro's Protests — Martial 
Law — The Assembly Deposes Castro — Pico and his Army March 
North against Castro— Warlike Preparations for Defence of 
Angeles — Cooperation of Foreigners — Bandini and Castro — 
Affairs in the North. 

The topics that make up the political annals of 1846 
are bound together by two parallel or intertwined 
threads. One is the fear of foreign invasion; the 
other, with the disentanglement of which I have 
chiefly to do in this chapter, is the controversy be- 
tween Castro and Pico; between the military and 
civil authorities; between the north and south; be- 
tween comandante general with custom-house and 
treasury, at Monterey, and governor with the assem- 
l)ly, at Los Angeles. The quarrel was continuous, un- 
dignified, and fruitless. AH admitted the deplorable 
condition of California, and attributed it largely to 
internal dissensions, as well as to Mexican neglect. 
As a matter of fact, nothing that was being done or 
Ifft undone, had upon the future of the country any 



other effect than the indirect one of so disgusting a 
part of the people that they were ready to welcome 
any change. Yet each faction pretended to believe 
that with the cooperation — that is, the entire sub- 
mission — of the other faction, the country might be 
saved. Pio Pico had little doubt that from the patri- 
otic wisdom of himself and the southern assemblymen, 
the true representatives of the popular will, a plan 
might be evolved for salvation — would General Castro 
but recognize that wisdom, let the revenues alone, 
keep the Indians in check, and use his military force 
exclusively to carry out measures dictated by the po- 
litical authorities. Jose Castro, on the other hand, 
maintained that the protection of the country was 
purely a military dut}^, since the chief danger was 
that of invasion, and that until the danger should be 
past, it behooved the governor and the assembly not 
to interfere with the general's prerogatives, but hum- 
bly to furnish such aid as might be asked for. Each 
entertained, personally, feelings of jealousy, distrust, 
and hostility toward the other; and each exaggerated 
the other's hostility. Each thought at times of using 
force to overthrow the other, doubting not the other 
was devoting his constant energies to similar ends. 
Each appealed sometimes to the other to forget past 
dissensions for the country's sake; mutual friends in- 
terfered more or less injudiciously and unsuccessfull} ; 
and the foolish quarrel dragged its slow length along. 
I have to note the controversy in some of its petty 
phases and results; but I have no historic lens so 
powerful, no balance so nicely adjusted, as to assign 
to either side a preponderence of blame. 

Alvarado, diputado-elect to congress for 1846-7, 
did not go to Mexico to take his seat, because there 
were no funds for his expenses, much as Pico desired 
his absence. Alvarado no longer had charge of the 
custom-house, but he was regarded by the abajenos 
as being at the bottom of all Castro's political in- 


trigues.^ Though Don Juan Bautista did no go to 
Mexico, California was still represented there by the 
brothers Castanares;^ and two other comisionados 
were sent early this year. The first was the gover- 
nor's secretary, Jose Maria Covarrubias, who was de- 
spatched by Pico, and sailed from San Pedro Febru- 
ary 14th on the Juanita. His mission, fulfilled in 
Mexico in April, was the old one of explaining Cali- 
fornia's peril and absolute lack of resources, and of 
suggesting methods of relief Whether an attempt 
was made to strike a blow at Castro is not known, as 
Covarrubias' instructions are not extant. Some of his 
special suggestions, such as the acquisition of Sutter's 
Fort and of Stephen Smith's lands at Bodega, and the 
appointment of a diplomatic agent at the Hawaiian 
Islands, were deferred for additional investigation ; but 
Pico was assured that the government had already 
taken steps to secure the safety of the department^ 
counting on the patriotic zeal of all Californians to 
aid in the good cause.^ The second was Andres 

^ Feb. 18, 1846, Pico to Alvarado, urging him to start soon for Mexico. 
Dept. St. Pap., MS., vi. 71. March 1st, A. to P. Is ready to start as soon 
as means shall be supplied. Needs $4,000 at least. His health is not good. 
Thinks this may be the last service he can render Cal. /(/. , vii. 117. A strange 
communication from A. appears in Id., viii. 96-7, in which he announces his 
return from Mexico after performing his duties as deputy, and asks payment 
of his expenses! 

■^ They took part in the junta of Jan. 3d, voting for a president ad. int. 
Mexico, Mem. lieladones, 1847, p. 86-8; Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal Diaz, i. 
109. Aug. 8th, Col, Tellcz wrote to Castro: 'Unfortunately there are among 
us some selfish people, who, being unworthy of the trust reposed in them, 
only seek their own advantage; for example, the Messrs Castanares, repre- 
sentatives of the Californias, These two personages have only endeavored to 
draw private advantages from the commission intrusted tothein; and per- 
haps they would have already gone to that department to collect the fruits 
of their perfidious machinations, if I who know them and feel an interest in 
that country had not prevented them as much as possible, as I shall continue 
to do; and I assure yon that if the revolution in which I find myself plunged 
triumphs, the Californians can trust they will not have the sorrow again to 
see on their shores those wicked men, or any otiiers that may resemble them.' 
(/. S. Govt Doc, 81st cong, 1st sess., H. Ex. no. 70, p. 43, and so in Col. 
Tellez California had another representative and protector! April 3d, Ma- 
nuel Castanares to Vallejo. Has done his best to make congress understand 
California's needs and risks. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xi. 201. 

'Feb. 18th, March 2d, Pico announces Covarrubias' departure. CastrOy 
Doc, MS., ii. 2-2; Olvera, Doc, MS., 15. Sailing recorded in Lancey's Cruise, 
37. Pico, Ilisf. Cat., MS., 135, tells us that through C. he urged the govt 
to accept his resignation. April 23d, min. of rel. to Pico, in reply to the com- 


Castillero, who sailed on the Don Quixote early in 
April, being sent by Castro with a warning against 
the Americans, and not improbably with complaints 
against Pico, in consequence of Fremont's operations 
in March. Nothing appears respecting the reception 
and labors of Don Andres in Mexico.* 

The result of all appeals to Mexico in 1846 was that 
the national government sent back a brief series of 
warnings, of exhortations, of * ample faculties' to 
defend the country, and even of promises to render 
material aid — which, as in the past, never came.^ As 
to the Iniestra expedition, the exact date when its 
failure became a certainty does not clearly appear. 
The scheme seems to have been partially revived, even 
after the confiscation of the stores and men provided 
at Acapulco by Alvarez, the revolutionist; but Inies- 
tra died early in the spring. In February or March 
a force was sent to Mazatlan for California, apparently 
under the command of Colonel Tellez; but this leader 
chose to engage in a revolution, and did not proceed 
beyond Sinaloa. In August an expedition under 
General Morales is mentioned as about to start. The 
record of all these projects is, however, exceedingly 
vague and unsatisfactory.^ 

mission. Dept. St. Pap.., ^ng., MS., viii. 72-5; St. Pap., Miss, and Colon. ^ 
MS., ii. 411-14. 

^Doc. Hist. Cal, MS., iii. 157; Larhiri's Of. Corresp., MS., i. 91; Niles' 
Reg., Ixxi. 188, 190; Davis' Glimpses, MS., 223, 336. 

^ Jan. 14th, American families on the frontier must not remain in the 
repub. while peaceful relations are interrupted. Sup. Govt St. Pap., MS., 
xviii. 25. March 10th, war certain to break out. The pres. orders a vigorous 
defence. Aid will be sent, and much confidence is felt in Cal. patriotism. 
The gov. and com. gen. are given ample powers. Pico, Doc, MS., ii. 171-2 
(original); Hayes'' Mission Book, i. 364, etc. It is under this order that 
Pico's sale of certain missions was supported in later litigation; but the plea 
was not sustained by the U. S. courts. Hoffman's Opinions, 12-13, etc. 
April 4th, decree of pres. that four armed schooners be stationed on the 
coast, one of them at S. Diego. Pinart, Doc. Hist. Mex., no. 788. April 
7th, acknowledgment of receipt of despatch of Feb. 19th, announcing the 
irruption of immigrants. April 23d, preparations made for occupation of 
Cal. Willey, in Sta Cruz Sentinel, June 3, 1876. July 4th, gov. of Cal. 
authorized to raise resources for defence. Mexico, Mem. Relaclones, 1847, 9. 
Aug. 6th, election decree. The two Californias to form one department and 
have one diputado. Pinart, Doc. Hist. Mex., no. 810. 

^May 11th, Mott and Talbot of Mazatlan to Larkin. 'You need not fear 
any expedition from this coast to your quarter. Iniestra is dead, and the 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 3 


About the middle of January Henri Cambuston, 
a French teacher at Monterey, on the occasion of a 
ball at the house of Dr Stokes, became involved in 
a personal quarrel with Prefect Castro, and came to 
blows with Captain Narvaez, a friend of Don Manuel. 
The Frenchman, on being ordered under arrest, refused 
to recognize Castro's authority, on the ground that 
he was not old enough to be prefect legally; but he 
was put in prison, and a successor was appointed to 
take charge of his school. The matter was investi- 
gated before the alcalde, and submitted to the gover- 
nor, who decided that both parties merited a repri- 
mand. Meanw^hile the French consul, Gasquet, had 
interfered, and had demanded from General Castro 
the j)risoner's release, with heavy damages for his ar- 
rest. The general declined to interfere with the pre- 
rogatives of the political authorities ; but he seems to 
have disapproved Don Manuel's conduct, much to the 
latter's displeasure. The prefect was also displeased 
at Pico's attitude in the matter. The quarrel had no 
other political significance, so far as can be known; 
neither is its result definitely recorded ; but I have 
introduced the affair here because of the high position 
of the parties involved, the interference of a foreign 
consul, the local excitement caused by the quarrel, 
and the bulky correspondence to which it gave rise, as 
shown by the archives.^ 

There is but little in the records of January and 

ships engaged to take the troops have been paid the false freight and dis- 
charged,' Larhhi's Doc, MS., iv. 115. See also El Tiempo, Jan. 26, May 7, 
1846. Feb. 9th, the expedition about to start, but delayed by Iniestra's 
illness. Bustamante, Mem- Hist. Mex., MS., iv. 54. March 5th, the exped. 
lias started for Mazatlan; but it is not believed it vv^ill reach its destination. 
Id., iv. 83. Exped. under Morales. Id., v. 82. Guerra, Ajnuttes, .371, says 
that Tellez reached Mazatlan in April -with a force, but revolted against 
Paredes. We have seen that Tellez wrote from Mazatlan in Aug., while 
engaged in a revolt. 

^The quarrel occurred on Jan. 18th. Investigation in the alcalde's court 
Jan. 2l8t, etc.; resulting corresp. between the Castros, Cambuston, Gasquet, 
Pico, and others, extending to March, in Castro, Doc, MS., i. 293-.303; Dept. 
St. Pap., Ben. Pre/, y Jiac,., MS., ii. 4-8; Doc Hist. Cal.,M^., iii. 57, 64, 66, 
91; i. 497. March 9th, lOtli, Pico to prefect and to Gasquet, trying to hush 
up the matter, which he fears may lead to serious complications. Fernandez, 
Doc, M.S., 61-3; Dej)t. St. Pap., MS., vii. 109, HI. 


February to throw light on the condition of pubHc 
affairs or on the troubles of the rival chieftains;*^ but I 
have to note another unsuccessful attempt by the gov- 
ernor to gain control of the revenues. Failing to re- 
move the treasury to Los Angeles, he had sent Igna- 
cio del Valle to take possession of the office •at the 
end of 1845; but General Castro had prevented the 
transfer. Early in February Valle came again to 
Monterey, Pico having agreed not to move the office, 
but declining to appoint a northern man in the place 
of Abrego. Castro, however, still continued his op- 
position, on the grounds that Pico had no authority 
to appoint a treasurer, and that any change in such 
critical times was inexpedient. Abrego professed to 
be willing to surrender the office, but received posi- 
tive orders from Castro not to do so; and Don Igna- 
cio had to content himself with the management of 
that small portion of the country's revenues which 
found its way to the south. ^ Subsequently Pico re- 

^Jan. 16th, several Sta Bdrbara officers resign their military rank, in- 
cluding Valentin Cota, Jos6 Carrillo, H. Garcia, and Jos6 Lugo. Dept. St. Pap. , 
Ben. Pref. y Juzg., MS., ii. 61. Jan. 24th, Feb. 27th, Eafael Sanchez to Pico. 
Complains that Mexicans arc insulted constantly, that officers of the old bat- 
talion are not receiving the treatment guaranteed by the treaty of Cahuenga, 
while Castro's 'auxiliary and permanent drunkards' receive pay while render- 
ing no service. Alvarado and Castro should be accused before the sup. govt. 
Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 102, 108-9. Jan. 26th, Pablo de la Guerra to his 
father. The time is passed wlien the laws ruled. Now circumstances are 
the rulers, and it is necessary to yield in non-essentials. Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., 
iv. 1168. Jan. 29th, Pico to Bandini. Will close the port of Monterey in 
case of expected infractions of order. Bandini, Doc, MS., 65. Feb. 15th, 
Francisco Arce to Vallejo, on the iinfortunate state of affairs. Begs V. to 
come to the country's rescue by joining the party of Castro against Pico, 
whose conduct is ruining all that is good. He does nothing but build up Los 
Angeles and plunder the missions. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 184. Feb. 20th, 
Prefect Castro to Pico. Has toiled hard, but foes are in league against him. 
His resignation not yet accepted. The country in a deplorable state, all on 
account of dissensions between gov. and gen., of which foreigners take advan- 
tage. Thinks Pico's presence in the north very desirable. Doc. Hist. Cal., 
MS., iii. 116. 

^ Jan. 1st, 15th, Abrego to Pico, explaining his difficulties. He is blamed by 
Montereyans for his willingness to give up the office. Advises that the funds 
be paid directly from the custom-house to the general, and not to him; or that 
a northern man be appointed as treasurer. He is tired of being denounced 
and insulted as a 'Mexican.' Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 96-9. Jan. 22d, Pico 
to Castro, with Valle's appointment. Valle, Doc, MS., 50-1. Jan. 24th, 
Rafael Sanchez and Juan Bandini to Pico, complaining of scandalous irregu- 
larities in the distribution of public funds, the real govt being kept in a state 
of beggary. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 102-.3. Feb. 10th, 12th, Castro to 


newed the financial controversy by trying to enforce 
a recent Mexican law, which provided that the depart- 
ments should receive two thirds uf all revenues, the 
national government — that is, the military branch so 
far as California was concerned — retaining only one 
third. Pico ordered the administrator of customs, 
therefore, to pay over the two thirds to the prefect, as 
representative of the civil authority. General Castro 
would not submit to any such reduction — from two 
thirds to one third — of the funds at his disposal. He 
held that his orders from Mexico to defend the coun- 
try conferred the right to use the country's revenues 
for that purpose; insisted that the distribution must 
be continued on the former basis; and his orders were 

At the beginning of March the assembly met at 
Los Angeles, and I append in a note an abstract of 
legislative proceedings for the year, though some of 
the matters treated will require to be noticed more 
fully elsewhere. ^^ The members — all abajenos, though 

Valle, refusing his consent to the change; Feb. 11th, 16th, Valle to Abrego 
and replies. Valle, Doc, MS., 50-3; Dept. St. Pap., MS., xiii. 18-22. No 
date, Valle to Castro, accusing him of disturbing the public peace by ignoring 
the gov. Id., vii. 4. March 1st, Castro to Pico. The change deferred until 
an interview can be held. Id., vii. 41-2. March 18th, Valle's report to Pico 
after his return. Will hold no further relations with general or treasurer. 
Id., Ben., iii. 136-9, 85. See also mention in Valle, Lo Pasado, MS., 38-9; 
Botello, Anales, MS., 125-6; Arce, in Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 184. 

^° April 15th, Pico to administrator and to prefect. Doc Hist. Cal., MS., 
iii. 166; Dept. St. Pap., MS., vi. 79-80; Id., Ben., iii. 139. April 16th, 18th, 
All direct taxes, etc., must also be paid to the dept. govt. Id., Angeles, ix. 
57; Pico, Doc, MS., i. 26. May 9th-15th, corresp. between gen., prefect, and 
admin. Unbound Doc, 'M^., 206-10; Doc Hist. Cal, MS., iii. 224. June 
16th, admin, declares that payment to the prefect would be illegal. Dept. St. 
Pap., Ben., MS., iii. 86. May 28th, Gen. Castro orders Receptor Diaz to 
pay over directly to a military officer the duties collected from an English 
ship. Guerra, Doc, MS., v. 192. May 11th, Castro authorizes Vallejo to 
raise a loan for defence. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 205. 

^^ Sessions of assembly March 2 to July 24, 1846, in Leg. Bee, MS., iv. 
315-71. English translation in U. S. vs Bolton, AppellanVs Brief, in U. S. 
Sup. Court, p. 221-53. March 2d, the new members, Bandini and Argiiello, 
admitted. Gov.'s opening message read, and committees appointed. (The 
message in full is found in Olvera, Doc, MS., 13-19.) Bandini's motion for a 
'conse jo general de pueblos unidos' referred to a com. Ayuut. of Angeles 
wants funds for schools. March 4th, Abrego sends excuse of sickness for his 
absence. (Pico to Abrego, in Dept. St. Paj). , MS. , viii. 120. ) Sta B. producers 
ask for exemption from double taxation. Citizens ask for a grant of S. Gabriel 


they do not seem to have indulged in any legislation 
of a violently partisan and revengeful nature — were 
Figueroa, Guerra, Botello, Bandini, and Argiiello; 

for a town. Botello granted leave of absence. Argiiello not present. March 
6th, Angeles wants a police force supported by contributions from men of 
means. March 9th, Guerra granted leave of absence to go as a commissioner 
to Monterey. Land grants, March 13th, Alvarado desires instructions as to 
his duties in congress, but gets none. American traders wish to be relieved 
of the annual tax of $600 for each vessel. Isaac Williams proposes to build a 
fort in the cajon if allowed to introduce $25,000 in goods free of duties. March 
16th, land grants. March 18th, lands. Sec. Olvera granted leave of absence. 
(Olvera to Pico. Dept. St. Pap., MS., viii. 96.) March 23d, S. Gabriel can- 
not be granted for a pueblo. Bandini's prop, on sale of missions. Argiiello 
sec. pro tem. March 30th, Bandini's mission prop, adopted. April 8th, 
Abrego sends certificates of illness, and is exempted, a suplente being sum- 
moned. April 15th, Pico's appointment as constitutional governor received; 
also the Montesdeoca doc. of Nov. 14th on mission sales; also other unimpor- 
tant Mex. decrees. Castro's report of Marcli 17th on the Fremont affair re- 
ceived. Bandini denounces the general's disregard of law. April 18th, special 
session. Pico sworn in as gov. Olvera acting as suplente. (April 17th, assem- 
bly to Olvera. Summons. Dept St. Pap., MS., viii. 121; Olvera, Doc, MS., 
20-1.) April 24th (?), no record. April 29th, matter of the com. gen. to be 
•discussed in secret session. Figueroa s act to repress Ind. hostilities passed. 
May 8th, more certificates of illness from Abrego. 45 land grants submitted. 
(May 2d, assembly decrees that interrupted sessions shall continue? Dept. St. 
Pap., MS., viii. 127.) May 11th, report of Guerra on his mission to Mont, 
and Castro's bad faith. Pablo de la Guerra introduced as a commissioner 
from Castro. Speech of Bandini against Castro. Pico desires permission to 
leave the capital should he deem it necessary. May 13th, Mex. order on 
missions. Munic. matters. Bandini's proposition of March 2d for a consejo 
general passed. Guerra not allowed leave of absence. May 15th, Sta B. 
taxes. Lands. June 3d, hide regulations. Lands. Figueroa's prop, to es- 
tablish a fort in the cajon against Ind. Warning from Castro of Fremont's 
hostile intentions. The consejo general not to be held as ordered on May 
13th. The gov. to take steps to defend the country. June 10th, land grants 
xind hide regulations. June 15th, munic. affairs. Figueroa presiding. Pico 
absent in the north. Botello present and acting as sec. pro tem. July 1st, 
communications from Pico at Sta B. , enclosing others from Castro on startling 
events at Sonoma (details elsewhere). Assembly declines to go to Sta B., as 
Pico desires; and refuses to bear any responsibility for consequences. (Illness 
of members alleged by Botello as a reason for not going to Sta B. Moreno, Doc. , 
MS., 27-8.) July 2d, unimportant reference to business of the last session. 
A weekly courier to be established. July 3d, vague reference to business of 
last sessions. July 6th, communication from Pico on the McNamara coloni- 
zation scheme. July 7th, com. report on McNamara grant approved. July 
8tli, land grants. Bandini says he must go home on account of illness. Ar- 
giiello is going home because Bandini's departure will leave no quorum. Pico 
presiding. (July 8th, Botello to Moreno. Assembly dissolves, owing to 
Bandini's illness. This is the last session. Moreno, Doc, MS., 18.) July 
24th, extra session. Pico submits Sloat's proclamation, etc. Members express 
'patriotic fervor.' The people to be called upon for services. An auxiliary 
military force to be organized. (Nothing more in the Legislative Records. ) 
Aug. 10th, session presided by Pico. Olvera, sec. Castro writes that he can- 
not defend the country, and is going to Mexico. Pico sees no better way than 
to go with Castro. The assembly to be dissolved, so that the invaders may 
find no legal authorities. Blotter record in Olvera, Doc, MS., 32-6. Oct. 
26th, 27th, 30th, Dec. 5th, sessions under the administration of Gov. Florea. 


Pico presiding and 01 vera acting as secretary. Abre- 
go, the only northern member elect, was absent on 
account of illness and perhaps his duties as treasurer. 
Pico in his opening message indicated the question of 
foreign relations — including that of immigration and 
the reported approach of 10,000 Mormons — as a most 
urgent one, that should receive exclusive attention 
until fully disposed of. The department was repre- 
sented as being from every point of view in a most 
unfortunate condition. Education was utterly neg- 
lected; as was the administration of justice, largely 
on account of the fact that justices of the supreme 
court had declined to accept their appointments. The 
missions were so burdened with debt that the gover- 
nor had been able to sell or rent only a few of them. 
The army was totally disorganized, soldiers enough 
for the protection of Monterey only being kept under 
arms by the general, while the rest of the department 
was left defenceless. Of financial matters, the writer 
had been able to learn but little, but was sure that 
most of the revenues had been wasted. Of course 
nmch was expected from the wisdom of the assembly, 
though its president had no definite suggestions to 

Early in March Pico sent Francisco de la Guerra 
as a commissioner to Castro, presumably to suggest 
some basis upon which the two chiefs might work in 
harmony, and perhaps to urge a conference at Santa 
Barbara; though the exact nature of his instructions 
is not known. ^^ Neither does it appear that his 

Members present, Figueroa, Botello, Guerra, and suplentes Olvera and Joa- 
quin Carrillo. Details of measures against the Americans will be given later. 
Fragmentary records in Id., 39-56; Carrillo [D. ), Doc, MS., 44; Castro, Doc, 
MS., ii. 150; Jamsens, Doc, MS., 32-3; Soberanes, Doc, MS., 326. 

'■^ March 9th, Guerra sent with verbal instructions. He was to use the 
good offices of influential persons. Guerra, Doc, MS., vi. 14-15. Appoint- 
ment, and license from assembly. Dcpt. St. Pap., MS., viii. 129; Leg. Eec, 
MS., iv. 320-1. March 10th, Padre Duran to Gen. Castro, urging him to 
look favorably upon Pico's propositions, it being of great importance that the 
two should unite on some plan of internal policy. Pico, Doc, MS., ii. 69-70. 
March 2d, Rafael Sanchez to Pico. Urges him to come to Monterey and sus- 
tain his authority — else he will soon be gov. only of Los Angeles. Com- 
plains that neither Pico nor Castro has shown good faith to the Mexicans 


efforts as a conciliator were successful. He made a 
report, however, of what he had accomplished, or 
failed to accomplish, and gave the document to Castro, 
to be forwarded to the governor; but the general, 
curious perhaps, as we are, to know its contents, kept 
the report. ^^ About the same time that Pico's com- 
missioner left Los Angeles, Castro sent to the capital 
his report of the troubles with Fremont, coupled with 
the announcement of his intention to defend the 
country — acting by virtue of his own authority and 
instructions from Mexico, in case the governor would 
not come to Monterey as he was urged to do. He 
also announced the return of Jose Antonio Carrillo 
from his exile in Sinaloa, and requested Pico not to 
prosecute him further, as his services were needed.^* 
These communications on being laid before the assem- 
bly produced a commotion. The danger of invasion 
was lost sight of in view of the fact that Castro had 
dared to issue a proclamation to the people, the pre- 
fect's share in the proceedings being ignored by the 
irate southerners. The defence of the country was 
unimportant in comparison with the thought of un- 
dertaking that defence without consulting, or rather 
without awaiting the cooperation of, the political 
chief Juan Bandini made a speech, denouncing Cas- 
tro's abuse of his powers, and called upon Pico to 
"reply to him with decorum, and at the same time 
with that firmness and energy which a proceeding so 

under the treaty of Cahuenga. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 106-8. March 2(1, 
4th, Prefect Castro to Pico. Also urges him to come north and make up his 
differences with the general. Id., vii. 110. 

"So Guerra reported to the assembly on May 11th, Leg. Rec, MS., iv. 
337. April 14th, Castro to Pico. Believes that 1:\^ will be convinced of the 
rectitude of writer's intentions and of the force of the reasons that prevent 
him from acceding to his request. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 52. May 5th, 
Guerra to Castro, a letter of reproaches for his conduct in not forwarding the 
report. /(/., vii. 55. May 8th, G. to P. The most Castro would promise 
was to try to come to Sta B. after the meeting of a military junta. Id. , vii. 56. 

1* March 17th, C. to P. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 48-9. This communica- 
tion as reported in the assembly was to the effect that 'as Pico had not come 
north, Castro would proceed,' etc. ; but in the original Castro still urges Pico 
to come. March 25th, Prefect Castro writes to the min. of rel. on the needs 
of Cal. Doc. Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 142. 


scandalous demanded." ^^ And Pico did write what 
was probably intended to be such a reply, but what 
was in reality an absurd exhibition of petty suspicion 
and weakness.^^ 

But Don Pio, thus insulted by Castro's presump- 
tion and threats to defend the country, was at the 
same time comforted by the receipt of his appoint- 
ment as constitutional governor of the Californias. 
This appointment was issued by President Herrera 
September 3, 1845, in accordance with the assembly's 
recommendation of June 27th, and in consideration of 
"the patriotism and commendable qualities which 
make you worthy of the confidence of the supreme 
government. "^^ The document was communicated to 
the assembly April 15th, and on the 18th, before that 
body and in presence of a large concourse of citizens 
and officials, Pico took the oath of office, delivering 
an address, and subsequently assisting with all the 
authorities at the usual religious te deum.^^ On the 
same day the governor's speech was issued in substance 
as a proclamation to the people. It contained the 
usual expressions of patriotic zeal, lack of self-confi- 
dence, flattery for the people, and trust in God; and 

"Session of April 15th. Leg. Eec, MS., iv. 330-1. April 14th, Castro 
to Pico. Has never doubted the purity of his intentions. Cannot leave the 
north, but hopes P. will come. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii, 115-16. April 17th, 
P. to Prefect Castro, complaining that no full reports have come from him on 
the Fremont affair. Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., iii. 174. April 24th, a friend to 
Bandini. The new plan of reform, in preparation since Carrillo's arrival, 
will cause a great transformation. Mexicans are to be expelled. This alone 
will raise the devil. Bandini, Doc, MS., 70. 

^6 No date, P. to C. Doc. Hist. Cal, MS., iii. 289. By what right does the 
gen. venture to issue i:)roclamations, and to alarm the people with whom, not 
being soldiers, he has nothing to do? He must have forgotten that there is a 
govt; or does he desire to overturn all order? or does he flatter himself he has 
j)Ower over free and enlightened citizens ? How would he like it if the gov. 
should usurp military functions or alarm the soldiers ? etc. Suspects that 
Castro's orders from Mexico, which nobody has seen, are ample enough to 
allow him to do as he pleases, etc. 

^^Sept. 3d, min. of rcl. to Pico. Doc. Hist. Cal, MS., iii. 165; Pico, Doc, 
MS., ii. 167; Dept. St. Pap., Aug., MS., xi. 171. 

1** April 15th, 18th. Leg. Rec, MS., iv. 329-32; Pico to Abrego. Dept. St. 
Pap., MS., xiii. 15. May 4th, Larkin congratulates Pico. Larkin's Off. 
Corresp., MS.,i. '98. May 16th-17th, publication of the appointment at 
Monterey. Dept. St. Pap., Mont., MS., iii. 123. Pico, Hist. Cal., MS., 135, 
claims to have kept back the appointment for several months after it was re- 
ceived, hoping to be relieved of so burdensome and difficult a position! 


-concluded of course with a call upon all Californians 
to be united for the common welfare. "With honor 
and law as our emblems, victory will be ours."^^ 

Besides reporting Fremont's movements, inviting 
the governor to a conference, despatching Castillero 
to Mexico for aid, and announcing his determination 
to resist invasion, either with or without Pico's coop- 
eration — Castro also convoked a junta of military 
men at Monterey to deliberate on the condition of 
the country, and to advise him as to the best policy 
to be pursued. ^'^ The junta met at the end of March, 
and its first recorded act was to declare on April 2d 
its adhesion to the 'plan regenerador of San Luis 
PotosiV and its recognition of Paredes as president ad 
interim of Mexico.^^ This pronunciamiento was not 
made public for over a month, during w^iich time the 
number of signatures was increased from the six or 
eight of the junta proper to twenty-nine. On May 
7th it received the adhesion of the Monterey ayunta- 
miento, and was officially communicated to the pre- 
fect, being also indorsed next day by the officials of 
the custom-house, and a little later by the local au- 
thorities of San Jose, and probably by those of other 
northern towns. Prefect Castro refused his approval 
of the act in all its phases, suspecting that it was in- 
tended as an attack on the political authority repre- 
sented in the north by him. Not only did the Mon- 

^^ April 18th, Pico's proclamation on assuming the proprietary governor- 
ship. Original in Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., iii. 178, 181; Guerra, Doc, MS., i. 

2*^ March 16th, Castro to Vallejo, who is summoned in the name of the 
country to come immediately to Monterey. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 197. 

^^ April 2d, pronunciamiento in favor of Paredes, signed by the following 
officers: Gen. Jos6 Castro, Col. J. B. Alvarado, Com*'® J. A. Carrillo, Capt. 
Mariano Silva, Capt. Joaquin de la Torre, Lieut F'ran. Arce, Alf. Bautista 
Castro, Col. M. G. Vallejo, Lieut-Col Victor Prudon, Treasurer Jos6 Abrego, 
Capt. Pedro Narvaez, Lieut Macedonio Padilla, Sub-lieut Ign. Servin, Man- 
uel R. Castro, Jos6 M* Soberanes, Lieut A. M. Somoza, Rafael Sanchez, Capt. 
Juan Castaiieda, Capt. Jos6 M. Flores, Lieut Fran. Limon, Lieut Valentin 
Gajiola, Sub-lieut Juan Soberanes, Capt. Eug. Montenegro, Mariano Villa, 
Lieut Man. Marquez, Lieut Fran. Eguren, Sub-lieut Man. Garfias, Capt. 
Gabriel de la Torre, Alf. Guad. Soberanes. Doc Hist. Cal, MS., iii. 153; 
Vallejo, Doc, MS., xxxiv. 193. 


terey officers approve the new plan, and recognize the 
new president, but they protested against the acts of 
the late administration; and as one of these acts had 
been the confirmation of Pico as governor, it was 
feared that this was the objective point of the whole 
movement. Respecting the reception of this act of 
the junta by Pico and the assembly early in June, I 
shall have something to say later. -^ 

After having performed its supposed duties tow^ard 
the nation, the junta of Monterey turned its attention 
to affairs at home, and the decision reached on April 
lltli "was as follows: 1st, that Castro's presence Avas 
indispensable in the northern towns, which must be 
fortified and defended; 2d, that Pico should be 
invited to come to Monterey and take part in the 
salvation of the department; 3d, that if, as was 
improbable, Pico should not accept the invitation, 
the general might act as seemed best, and establish 
his headquarters at Santa Clara; 4th, that this 
arrangement should last until the coming of the orders 
and resources solicited from Mexico through Cas- 
tillero.^ The governor's reply to this act was a 
violent protest against it, as *'an assumption of patriot- 
ism for the purpose of paralyzing the administration 
and disturbing the peace." He also expressed great 
displeasure at the part taken by the prefect in this 
scandalous subversion of order and law.^^ He con- 
tinued his protests in a private letter to Vallejo, 

'*2May 7th, action of Monterey ayunt. Doc. Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 201-2. 
May 7th, Gen. Castro to prefect. Castro, Dor., MS., ii. 81, 84. May 8th, 
action of custom-house officers. Doc. Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 204. May 8th, 
9th, prefect to Gen. Castro. Id., iii. 203, 205; May 9th, prefect to juez of S. 
Jos(:\ S. Jose, Arch., Loose Pap., MS., 58. May 12th, 13th, prefect vs 
general. Doc. Hist. Cal, MS., iii. 209; Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 94. May 13th, 
Gen. Ca«tro to Pico, urcjing him to accept the plan. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 
52-3. May 16th, 17th, juez of S. Jos6 to prefect. Doc. Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 
219, 225. See also Alvarado, HisL CaL, MS., v. 130-2; Castro, ReL, MS., 

23 April 11th, acta of junta tie militares in Monterey. Dept. St. Pap., MS., 
vii. 50-1. Signed by Castro, Vallejo, Alvarado, Prudon, Carrillo, and 
Manuel Castro. 

" April 30th, Pico to the Castros. Doc. HisL CaL, MS., iii. 190. He begs 
Gen. C. to desist from his project, and to unite with him in the country's 


insisting that the junta had merely called upon the 
people to join Castro in a struggle against the 
legitimate authorities, and had ignored not only the 
governor, but the assembly, and even the whole south. 
He regretted deeply that so true a patriot as Vallejo 
should have been induced to take part in a measure 
80 ruinous to his country; and he even carried his 
flattery so far as to say that the junta ought to have 
made Vallejo general in the place of Castro, and to 
hint at rewards for the colonel's favor in the final 
distribution of mission property. ^^ Vallejo's reply 
was to point out in a long and friendly letter the 
groundless nature of Pico's suspicions. He maintained 
that the danger of foreign invasion in the north was 
real and imminent; that the junta had acted in good 
faith and with no partisan views whatever; that 
neither the council of officers nor Castro in this 
instance had in any respect exceeded their legitimate 
powers; and that it would be an absurdity to require 
a comandante general to consult a governor two 
hundred leagues away in a case of emergency. Vallejo 
made it very clear, in language forcible but friendly, 
that Pico at this stage of the quarrel had allowed his 
prejudice to get the better of his reason, and had 
assumed a position utterly untenable. ^^ 

At the end of April, apparently before receiving 
Pico's protests, Castro addressed to the governor a 
letter in support of the measures decided upon, urging 
that only by working in accord was there any hope of 
averting calamity, and that the time had now come 
when all personal and local differences should be put 
aside. Pablo de la Guerra was sent as commissioner 
to Los Angeles to explain the situation/^ and to obtain 
at the least an interview between the two chiefs at 
San Luis Obispo.^^ Guerra was introduced, and Cas- 

2SMay 2d, P. to V. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xxxiv. 196; xii. 204. 
•^6 June 1st, V. to P., in Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 219. 
2^ April 27th, 28th, C. to P. Doc Hist CaL, MS., iv. 1178-80; DepL St. 
Pap., MS., vii. 53. 

2^ May 10th, 11th, letters from both Jos6 and Manuel Castro to Pico, urg- 


tro's communication was read, to the assembly at the 
session of May 1 1th ; but the only result — when Guerra 
had explained his business, and Juan Bandini had 
made a speech bitterly denunciatory of Castro's acts 
in general, and of his present assurance in venturing 
to instruct the governor and assembly on the true 
condition of the department — was that Pico was 
granted permission, should he deem the matter of 
sufficient importance, to leave the capital.' 


It was probably the holding of a junta at Monterey, 
as just recorded, that prompted the southern politi- 
cians to organize a somewhat similar meeting of their 
own. Early in March, Juan Bandini had proposed a 
'consejo general de pueblos unidos de la Alta Califor- 
nia;' but the scheme, after some discussion in April, 
had not met with much favor, and had been, perhaps, 
practically abandoned.^^ It was revived, however, on 
the arrival of Pablo de la Guerra, and, as the latter 
claimed, at his instigation, in accordance with the ideas 
of Castro and his friends in the north; but it seems 
certain, from preceding and subsequent circumstances, 
that such could not have been the origin of the plan.^^ 
Everything points to it as a phase of the quarrel be- 
tween governor and general, designed as a southern 
measure to counterbalance the junta of Monterey. 

ing him to consent to a conference at San Luis, to lay aside personal resent- 
ments, and not to add the danger of civil war to that of foreign invasion. 
Doc. Hist. Cal, MS., iii. 206; Dept. St. Pap., Ben. Pre/, y Juzg., MS., ii. 
86-8. May 25th, alcalde of S. Jos6 to prefect, on military preparations. 
People here have as yet taken no part with Gen. Castro. He seems to hint 
that there is some concealed plan in connection with the preparations. Doc. 
J list. Cal, MS., iii. 233. 

^'May 11th. Leg. liec, MS., iv. 337-41. It was at the same session that 
Castro's treatment of Francisco de la Guerra was reported, a fact that did not 
put the abajenos in a very friendly mood. 

30 March 2d, April 22d, 29th. Leg. Rec, MS., iv. 317-18; Dept. St. Pap., 
MS., viii. 96, 99-104, 122-5. 

3^ Pablo de la Guerra, in an original blotter letter without date — but prob- 
ably written in his own defence in later years — says that he suggested to Cas- 
tro the idea of independence, which was favored also by Vallejoand Alvarado; 
and he was sent south to advance the scheme, and succeeded in obtaining the 
call for a consejo — but on his return found that Castro liad changed his mind. 
Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., iv. 1299-1300. As Guerra's mission to Angeles isother- 
wisc clearly accounted for, and his cool reception by the assembly recorded, 
I cannot place much reliance on this version of the matter. 


On May 13tli the assembly took up and approved 
the committee report of April 22d, on Bandini's prop- 
osition of March 2d; and on the same day it was 
published in a bando by Pico. In a preamble the 
condition and prospects of California were presented 
in the darkest colors; and two important questions 
were suggested respecting emergencies likely to arise : 
1st, what are the means of defence if a foreign inva- 
sion precedes the coming of aid from Mexico ? and 2d, 
should troops come from Mexico without provision for 
their support, what would be the consequences to Cal- 
ifornians? The decree provided that a consejo general, 
composed of eighteen delegates to be elected on May 
30th — four each from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, 
and Monterey; two each from San Diego and San 
Jose ; and one each from Sonoma and San Francisco — 
together with the six vocales of the assembly as speak- 
ing and voting members, and with such ecclesiastical 
and military representatives, not exceeding five each, 
as the respective authorities might deem proper to ad- 
mit — should meet at Santa Barbara June 15th, under 
the presidency of the governor — twelve elected dele- 
gates to constitute a quorum — with the object of "de- 
termining all that may be deemed best to avoid the 
fatal events impending at home and abroad. "^^ 

Elections were held as ordered in the north, though 
most of the delegates chosen declined to serve, either 
on account of one or another disability, or because 
they did not approve the objects of the council. ^^ 
Doubtless elections were also held in the south, 

^^ Consejo General de Pueblos Unidos de California, Bando de 13 de Mayo, 
1846, MS. Details of the 10 articles, on elections and petty matters of or- 
ganization and routine, etc., are omitted as of no importance. May 13th, 
Pico to both Jos6 and Manuel Castro, urging the importance of the proposed 
consejo. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 2-3; Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 89-90. 

^^ The delegates chosen were, for Monterey, Manuel Castro, Rafael Gon- 
zalez, Francisco Rico, and Rafael Sanchez; for S. Jos6, Antonio Suiiol and 
Jesus Vallejo; for Yerba Buena, Benito Diaz; and for Sonoma, Victor Prudon. 
Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., iii. 229, 238-47; Castro, Doc, M.^., ii. 73, 100; Vallejo, 
Doc, MS., xii. 210,216; xxxiv. 197,201; Fernandez, Doc, MS., 13. Rico, 
Vallejo, Sufiol, and Prudon declined — the latter declaring it would be treason 
to accept; while Gonzalez and Sanchez referred the matter to Gen. Castro, 
which was equivalent to declining. 


though I find no records. The missionary prelate was 
invited to name the ecclesiastical delegates, but de- 
clined for want of padres, and because he questioned 
the propriety of their taking part in politics. ^^ Castro 
refused to appoint the military delegates, or to have 
anything whatever to do with a project which he de- 
nounced, in terms even more violent than those ap- 
plied by Pico to the action of the Monterey junta, as 
ruinous, treasonable, illegal, preposterous, and 'liber- 
tycidal' ! He protested, in the name of God, the coun- 
try, and his armed force, against the holding of the 
consejo and all acts that might emanate from such a 
body. He besought the governor to retrace his steps 
while there was yet time, announced his purpose to 
defend the country at all hazards, and finally declared 
the department in a state of siege and under martial 
law.^^ He did not condescend to give any definite 
reasons for his opposition; but in reality he opposed 
the consejo mainly because he and his friends could 
not control it, the south having a majority of the elec- 
tive delegates, besides the members of the assembly, 
who were all abajenos. Vallejo in a letter to Pico 
based his opposition openly on that ground, declaring 
the whole scheme a very transparent trick against the 
north, and pointing out the injustice of giving San 
Diego two delegates, while San Rafael, Sonoma, and 
New Helvetia combined were to have but one.^^ 

^'' Arch. Arzob., MS., v. pt ii. 68-9. P. Duran was applied to, but he was 
ill, and P. Gonzalez replied instead. 

3^ May 28th, Castro's protest. Original in Soberanes, Doc, MS., 316-20. 
June 8th, more to same effect. Bandini, Doc, MS., 73; De2Jt. St. Pap., MS., 
vii. 21-4. 'I see with astonishment the libel aborted in the govt house at 
Angeles on May 13th, under the title of decree. Never could the insane 
hydra of discord have ejected a more destructive flame than that of this 
abominable paper. Are its authors Mexicans?' 

36 June 1st, V. to P. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 219. Osio, Hist. Cat., MS., 
456, thinks Castillero's influence prevented the meeting, that officer fearing 
that it might result in a reconciliation between Castro and Pico. Vallejo, 
IJist. Cal., MS., V. 92-3, is of opinion that had the junta been held Pico would 
have tried through its agency to raise troops and funds for an attack on Castro. 
May 30th, Manuql Castro urges Jose Castro to appoint military delegates to 
the junta, and to have an interview with Pico. Soberanes, Doc, MS., 322-5. 
May 30th, 31st, Gonzalez and Sanchez, delegates elect, ask advice of Castro, 
and express suspicion as to the purpose of the junta. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 
211, 214. 


The purposes of Pico and his friends in convoking 
the council of Santa Barbara were doubtless some- 
what vague, the only definite phase of the matter be- 
ing a determination that whatever was done for the 
salvation of the country must be done under southern 
control. It was believed, however, that an influence 
would be brought to bear in favor of independence 
from Mexico; and it was also suspected that certain 
men would go so far as to urge an English or French 
protectorate. This suspicion, not altogether without 
foundation, will be noticed more fully in the next 
chapter. Whatever may have been its object, the con- 
sejo never met, the decree of May 13th having been 
suspended by the assembly the 3d of June.^^ No defi- 
nite reason was assigned for this action; but at the 
same session was announced the declaration of the 
Monterey junta in favor of Paredes;^^ and a commu- 
nication from Castro was also read, in which he an- 
nounced the imminence of an attack by Fremont, and 
urged the governor to come north. Moreover, the re- 
fusal of the northerners to take part in the consejo 
rendered it impossible to obtain a quorum according 
to the terms of the call. 

Pico and his advisers regarded the acts of the Mon- 
terey junta in favor of Paredes and against Herrera, 
in connection with the refusal of the arribenos to 
assist in the consejo, as virtually a declaration of war 
against the south, and especially against the civil au- 
thorities; and they gave little or no credence to the 
rumors of impending invasion by Fremont, regarding 

^'' Leg. Rec, MS., iv. 352-3; Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 20. Doc. in Pico, 
Acont., MS., 83-4; Coronel, Doc, MS., 243-5. The southern delegates were 
ordered not to go to Sta Barbara. 

3^ June 12th, Abel Stearns writes to Larkin: ' The asamblea by act have 
deferred the junta that was to take place at Sta B. on the 15th. The cause 
of this was the act passed by the said-to-be junta de guerra held at Monterey, 
in which they declare the decrees and acts of the govt of Sr Herrera relative 
to Cal. to be null; thus indirectly declaring against the gov, of this dept, and 
other acts or decrees of the general govt favorable to the civil list, which prob- 
ably does not very well coincide with the interest of the military gentlemen 
your way.' Larkin's Doc, MS.,iv. 151. 


them, and also the efforts to secure the governor's^ 
presence in the north, as mere pretexts on the part of 
Castro, whose plan was to depose Pico by the aid of 
the force raised ostensibly to resist Fremont. These 
fears, greatly exaggerated if not altogether without 
foundation, were doubtless real on the part of the 
abajeno chiefs. They at once resolved to assume the 
offensive instead of awaiting an attack, using both 
force and stratagem. Pico was to adopt Castro's own 
devices; to raise a military force with which ostensi- 
bly to resist foreign invasion; to march northward in 
pretended compliance with the general's invitation; 
but eventually to forcibly remove that officer from the 
command. In the session of June 3d, besides deferring 
the meeting of the Santa Barbara council, the assem- 
bly authorized the governor to take such steps as 
might be necessary to ''save the country." This in 
open session ; but in secret session that body passed a. 
decree formally suspending General Castro until pub- 
lic tranquillity should be restored. ^^ 

In pursuance of the scheme just noted, Pico took 
steps to raise funds by methods closely resembling 
forced loans. He called on Sonoran and New Mexi- 
can visitors to unite with Californians in support of 
so holy a cause, and wrote to Juan Bandini, soliciting 
his presence and cooperation at Angeles. The 16th 
of June he left the capital with a military force. 
Three days later he was at San Buenaventura with 
eighty men, expecting to be joined by thirty more at 
Santa Bdrbara, where he arrived on or before June 
21st, and where two days later he was destined to re- 
ceive some startling news from Sonoma. Pico's let- 
ters of these times describe himself and his men as 
enthusiastic and confident of success. They are filled 
with denunciations of Castro's treachery and lack of 
patriotism, and announce as certain Castro's intention 

^'This action is not recorded in the Leq. liec, as now extant; but is men- 
tioned in an original letter of Pico to Bandini on the same day, June 3d, 
Bandini, Doc, MS., 72; and it is indirectly confirmed, as will be seen, in 
subsequent records. 


to invade the south at the head of an army, urging- 
upon citizens and legislators the necessity of active 
measures, military and political, for sectional, depart- 
mental, and national defence.^^ 

Pico had left the capital in charge of the ayuntami- 
ento, the duties of which body were not very arduous 

*° May 26th, Pico to Bandini, urging his presence as member of the as- 
semby. He declares that Garfias, Egnren, and other officers in the south 
were summoned north, not, as pretended, to serve against Fremont, but to 
sign the acta of the junta. Bandini, Doc, MS., 71. May 30th, sub-prefect 
of Sta B. refuses to recognize Capt. Cota's/wero militar, in spite of Castro's 
orders. Cota, Doc, MS., 19-20. May 30th, assembly (or ayunt. ?) decrees 
that traders in the capital shall furnish $3,000 within 5 days. Dept. St. Pap., 
MS., viii. 135. Gov. wants a loan from Figueroa, Temple, and Vignes. /c/. , 
vii. 25. No date, assembly not being in session, the sub-prefect with Pres. 
Figueroa takes measures for protection of the capital, in view of Castro's 
communications. Jd., viii. 141. June 3d, Pico calls upon Sonorans to aid 
against Americans. Id., viii. 135. June 3d, Pico to liandini. Will start 
on the r2th; hopes to meet him before that date. Bandini, Doc, MS., 72. 
June 3d, Wilson to Bandini. All recognize him (B.) as the only man who can 
save the country from a foreign yoke. Id., 81. June r2th, comandante prin- 
cipal at Angeles to Capt. Andres Pico, transmitting gov. 's official note of 
same date. Dept in danger from quasi invasion by U. S. Asks that all 
army officers be placed at his disposal, to command the troops about to march 
to the north. Pico, Doc, IViS., 97-100. June r2th, Pico to 1st judge of S. 
Luis Obispo. Will start at once for the north to restore order and defend the 
country. Asks for cooperation of all good citizens. S. Luis Ohispo, Arch., 
MS., 12. June 13th, Comandante Eguren to Capt. Andres Pico. Orders him 
to proceed to Mont, under the gov.'s orders. Pico, Doc.^ MS., ii. 81. June 
13th, Eguren to Pico, announcing his orders to Andres. Dept. St. Pap., MS., 
vii. 58. June 13th, Wilson, from Jurupa, to gov. Sends 10 New Mexicans, 
all he can find. Id., Ben. Pref. y Juzg., ii. 46. June 16th, Pico sold city 
lands for $200 to raise money for his expedition. Los Angeles, Ayunt. Pec, 
MS., 16. June 16th, Anast. Carrillo advises Pico not to go north. Dept. St. 
Pap., MS., vii. 119. June 16th, Pico to start to-day. Id., Angeles, xi. 175; 
Los Angeles, Arah., MS., v. 349. June 16th, ayunt. regrets his departure. 
Dept. St. Pap., Ben. Pref. y Juzg., MS., iv. 54. June 19th, Pico from S. 
Buenaventura to Bandini. Has just received a despatch from Castro, whose 
conduct he pronounces as 'insulting, profane, and outrageous.' He must be 
denounced and punished. Come to Angeles at once to aid in the good work, 
and bring Argiiello with you. Bandini, Doc, MS., 76. June 19th, Pico to 
the assembly, transmitting Castro's despatch of June 8th — his protest against 
the consejo, and threat to declare the dept in a state of siege and under mar- 
tial law — protesting and urging the assembly to protest against such arbitrary 
and outrageous proceedings, to which he proposes to put a stop immediately. 
Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 25-6, with Castro's despatch. Id., vii. 21-4. June 
21st, Pico's sec. to sub-prefect. The gov. doubts not Castro's seditious in- 
tentions, nor that he is now on his march to invade Angeles; but will crush 
the hydra. Id. , vii. 27. Some general accounts and remarks on the contro- 
versy between Pico and Castro, adding nothing to the contemporary corresp. 
Nearly all agree that down to the last each was resolved to overthrow the 
other. Castro, Pel, MS., 173-5, 181-4; Alvarado, Hist. Ccd., MS., v. 129, 
150-6; Pico, Hist. Cal.,MS., 139-48; Botello, Anales, MS., 134-8; Coronel, 
Cosas, MS., 122; BidweWs Col. I84I-8, MS., 147-9; TuthiWs Hist. Cal., 151. 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 4 » 


for the first few days;^^ but on June 20th there came 
a rejDort through Juan Gallardo that Castro was com- 
ing to attack the town within three days at furthest; 
and formidable preparations for defence were at once 
made — on paper. The alarm was abated next day, 
when it was learned that Castro was at least much 
farther away than had been reported ;^^ but it was re- 
newed with all its terrors on the 22d, when Pico's 
letter was received, with Castro's protest and declara- 
tion of martial law, and a report, brought by an Eng- 
Hsh vessel, that Castro had been in Monterey on the 
14th with seventy men, but had disappeared the next 
morning, presumably on his way to Angeles. The 
sub-prefect, Abel Stearns, at the invitation of Presi- 
dent Figueroa of the assembly, convoked a junta of 
the citizens, native and foreign, at his house; and a 
committee of that junta proceeded to prepare a series 
of resolutions strongly condemnatory of Castro's arbi- 
trary attempts "to erect an absolute dictatorship to 
the prejudice of all guaranties," expressive of a pref- 
erence ''to perish under the ruins of the i^atria rather 
than let it become the sport of evil-disposed persons;" 
and, what was more to the point, declaratory of their 
purpose to resist by force Castro's entry into the 
city.*^ The resolutions were approved by about eighty 
citizens, of whom twenty-five were foreigners; and the 
methods of defence were left to the ayuntamiento. 
This body on the 23d issued regulations organizing 
the citizens into three companies, one of artillery 
under Miguel Pryor, another of riflemen under Benito 

*^ June 16th, session of the ayunt. A list of respectable citizens to be 
formed, and other measures to be adopted for the preservation of order. Los 
Angeles, Arch., MS., v. .349-50. 

"*^ Los Amjele.% Arch., MS., v. 353; Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 4-6; Id., Ben. 
Pre/, y Juzg., ii. 161. 

*^ June 2'2d, Stearns to foreigners. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 6. Report of 
the committee, consisting of Requena, Figueroa, Botello, Temple, and Work- 
man, with a long list of signers, in Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 62-5; Id., Ben. 
Pref. y Juzg., ii. 163-5; Los Angeles, Arch., MS., iii. 31-6. Stearns to Pico, 
with the resolutions. Dept. St. Pap., Ben. Pref. y Juzg., MS., ii. 162-3. 
Id. to ayunt. Los Angeles, Arch., MS., iii. 16-17; Dept. St. Pap., Aug., MS., 
xi. 175-8. 


Wilson, and a third of cavalry under Jorge Palomares. 
Next day Julian Workman was chosen comandante 
principal of all the forces/* 

Juan Bandini, despite his illness, came up to the 
capital from San Diego to join his voice to the current 
denunciations of Castro, as "a man who under pretence 
of saving California seeks to tyrannically subdue and 
trample on her."*^ He also seems to have devoted 
his energies to the preparation of an elaborate address 
to the people, intended to be published by the assem- 
bly at the proper time as a defence of its action in de- 
posing Castro. This document — never issued so far 
as I know, but the original blotter of which in Don 
Juan's handwriting exists in my collection — w^as a long, 
fierce, and declamatory denunciation of all that the 
general had done. It was filled with the most bitter 
abuse of Castro in respect not only of his public acts, 
but of his private character. The conclusion reached 
was that the assembly could no longer recognize the 
authority of so vicious and ignorant and incapable and 
tyrannical a monster, trusting that all patriotic citizens 
would approve that determination. The violence of 
this effusion was as absurd as that of Castro's protest 
against the consejo — which is saying a good deal.*^ 

Of Castro's operations in June little can be defi- 
nitely known, beyond the fact that he was at Santa 
Clara and San Juan, visiting also Monterey and So- 
noma, engaged in not very successful efforts to raise 
men for the alleged purpose of resisting foreign inva- 
sion, and greatly annoyed by Pico's refusal to cooper- 

** June 23d-24th, regulations by ayunt., and Workman's election. 50 men 
are also to be sent to reenforce Pico. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 7-8; Los 
Angeles, Arch., MS., v. 354. June 26th, S. Diego sends approval of the 
action against Castro. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 85, with a similar approval 
from the sub-prefect of Sta B., dated June 27th. 

^5 June 23d, B. to Pico. Bandini, Doc, MS., 80. 

*^No date. Bandini, Doc, MS., 58. In Id., 101, is an undated decree of 
the assembly, ignoring Castro's authority, and authorizing the use of force 
against him and his men if they would not lay down their arms. This may 
be the decree already referred to, or it may be a supplementary one proposed 
by Bandini. 


ate with him. The records are meagre, and do not 
show either the number or organization of the forces 
under his command ; neither do they throw much hght 
on his real plans. In his despatch of June 8th, after 
an absurdly violent protest against the proposed con- 
sejo, the general proceeded to urge upon the governor 
the importance of coming north to aid in the work of 
defence, and concluded as follows: '*I have notified 
you over and over again of the risk which the coun- 
try runs, and of the necessity of taking steps for its 
defence ; but, with regret that I cannot count on your 
cooperation for that sacred object, and as the integ- 
rity of this part of the republic is exclusively intrusted 
to me, I shall be absolutely compelled to declare the 
department in a state of siege, and the martial law in 
full force — a legal resource employed in such circum- 
stances by all the peoples of the universe."^'' All this 
was reasonable enough on its face, and afforded no 
cause for the ridiculous ravings of Pico and Bandini ; 
yet these gentlemen believed that Castro was devot- 
ing his whole attention, with the aid of Alvarado and 
others, to plots against the civil government, regard- 
ing his preparations against foreign aggression as a 
mere pretence. It is difficult to determine w^hat were 
Castro's plans at this time. He was not a man in 
w^hose favor much could be said at any stage of his 
career, or in whose good faith much reliance could be 
placed. If in the latest phases of the controversy he 
showed to better advantage than his rival, it was due 
more to circumstances and to Pico's folly than to any 
merit of his own. It is certain that he hated Pico, 
and would not have scrupled to use force against him. 
Had Pico come north in response to his invitation, 
Castro would probably have arrested and deposed, if 
he could not control him. Yet it would have been 
difficult to obtain men for a successful attack on the 
governor or the capital, and I do not think the gen- 
eral thought of such an expedition in June, if he had 

"June 8th, C. to P. from Sta Clara. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 24. 


before. Moreover, his fears of foreign invasion were 
by no means a pretence at this time, after Fremont's 
operations in March, and his return from Oregon at 
the end of May.^ 

I have thus brought the poHtical annals of 1846, 
that is, the controversy of Pico versus Castro, down 
to the dates on which the capture of Sonoma by the 
Americans was made known to the different factions: 
to the citizens of Angeles on June 24th, when they 
were valiantly arming to resist an attack from a foe 
hundreds of miles away, with no intention so far as 
can be known of coming nearer; to Pico at Santa 
Barbara on June 23d, when he was nearly ready to 
march northward with his army against the general; 
and to Castro at Santa Clara on June 15th, when he 
was preparing to resist whatever foes might present 
themselves, native or foreign. The effect of the star- 
tling news on the actions of the hostile chieftains must 
be told in later chapters. 

*^ There were suspicions of some hidden purpose on Castro's part, even in 
the north, as appears from Dolores Pacheco's communications to the prefect, 
in Doc. Hist. Cal. , MS. , iii. 251-2. Com. Carrillo writes of pasquinades posted 
at Sta Clara against Castro and other leaders. S. Jos4, Arch.y Loose Pap.j 
MS., 4. June 8th, Castro sends some miltary orders to Angeles, and asks 
Pico's cooperation. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 57-8. 



January-June, 1846. 

Larkin as U. S. Confidential Agent — His Instructions — Correspond- 
ence—Fears OF Invasion — Treatment of Foreigners — Fremont's 
Operations in March — Larkin 's Efforts and Hopes — Monterey 
Junta — Imaginary Speeches for England, France, and the U. S. — 
Stearns, Leese, and Warner — Sutter's Policy — Consejo General 
AT Santa Barbara, and its Bearing on Foreign Schemes —Views of 
Stearns and Larkin— Pico's Intrigues— Exaggerations on English 
Interference — Testimony of Gillespie and Minor — Position op 
Forbes and Spence — Stearns as Sub-agent of the U. S. — Condition 
OF Affairs in June — General Conclusions. 

Yet once again have I to go over the early months 
of 1846 before describing the revolt which in June 
served as a prelude to the downfall of Mexican 
rule. It will be my purpose in this chapter, largely 
by extracts from correspondence of the time, to show" 
what was done and said, what was feared and hoped, 
in California respecting an anticipated change of flag; 
and I shall also notice as an important phase of the 
same general subject the feeling and policy of native 
citizens and authorities toward foreign residents and 

Thomas 0. Larkin was a very prominent man in 
connection with the matters to which I have just re- 
ferred, being constantly engaged in active efforts to 
secure California for the United States and to defeat 
the schemes, real or imaginary, of European nations 
supposed to be intriguing for the same prize. In 
October 1845 Larkin had been appointed a confi- 



dential agent of bis government for the critical period 
believed to be approaching. His instructions, prefaced 
by a definite statement of the administration's policy, 
were, in brief, to report fully and often on the country, 
its resources and condition, the character and influ- 
ence and political disposition of its leading citizens, 
and on the general progress of events; to warn the 
people against the evils of European interference, 
which would be disastrous to their true interests, and 
would not be permitted by the United States; to 
impress upon the Californians the advantages of lib- 
erty as enjoyed under the stars and stripes, assuring 
them that, could they but assert and maintain their 
independence from Mexico, they would be welcomed 
as a sister republic or as a component part of the 
great union; and finally, to do all this with such pru- 
dence and skill as not to awaken suspicion or the 
jealousy of the men who represented other powers.^ 
Whatever view may be taken of President Polk's 
general policy respecting California, it must be ad- 
mitted that this peculiar appointment conferred upon 
a foreign consul, when regarded from the highest 
standpoint of international honor, reflected no credit 
upon the government at Washington; and it is not 
surprising that the act has never been made known 
to the public. 

Larkin did not receive or know of his appointment 
until April ; but he acted much as he would have done 
had he received it earlier. On the 1st of January he 
transferred his mercantile business to Talbot H. 
Green ;^ and thereafter devoted much of his time to 

^ Buchanan's Instructions of the Secretary of State to Thomas 0. Larkin as 
Confidential Agent of the United States Government, Oct. 17, 1845. Original 
MS. 'In addition to your consular functions, the president has thought 
proper to appoint you a confidential agent in Cal. ; and you may consider the 
present despatch as your authority for acting in this character. The confi- 
dence which he reposes in your patriotism and discretion is evinced by con- 
ferring upon you this delicate and important trust. You will take care not 
to awaken the jealousy of the French and English agents there by assuming 
any other than your consular character.' Larkin 's compensation was to be 
$6 per day; and Gillespie was to cooperate with him. See quotations from 
this document in chap. xxv. of vol. iv. , and chap. i. of this vol. 

'^Jan. 1, 1846, contract between L. and G. The latter was to take charge 


his consular duties, and in a quiet way to the work of 
concihating CaUfornian sentiment and of watching 
the other consuls, there existing naturally no definite 
record of his earliest efforts in this direction. Nor 
were there any important developments or even 
rumors connected with foreign relations in January 
and February; though I may notice a warning sent 
to the supreme government by Prefect Castro respect- 
ing the dangerous increase of immigration; some 
complaints of local authorities about the freedom with 
which some of last year's immigrants moved about 
the country under passes from Sutter; a few vague 
items that may relate to intrigues for English inter- 
vention; and a letter of a prominent Californian, in 
which he alludes to Hastings' book, and says: *^The 
idea of those gentlemen is that God made the world 
and them also ; therefore, what there is in the world 
belongs to them as sons of God"!^ 

of store, warehouses, etc., and $10,000 worth of goods; and to conduct the 
business for three years, receiving one third of the profits. LarkirCs Doc, 
MS., iv. 1. 

''Jan. 24th, Sub-prefect Guerrero to prefect. Has tried to get the book — 
in which the Californians are said to be abused — but has not succeeded, 
though offering $20. Castro, Doc, MS., i. 311. In Feb., however, he got a 
copy and sent it to Castro. Doc Hist. Cat., MS., iii. 95. Jan. 2d, G. toLar- 
kiu, asking him to cause his countrymen who have entered illegally to retire, 
if he has jurisdiction in such matters. Larkiii's Doc, MS., iv. 5. Jan. 8th, 
Gov. Pico calls upon the prefect for a report on the immigrants of the past 
year. Doc Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 21. Jan. 22d, Guerrero to prefect. What 
sliall he do with the strangers coming from the Sacramento? Thirty arrived 
yesterday. Can Sutter issue passports? Doc Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 77. More 
arrivals. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 12. Jan. 29th, 30th, prefect to sup. govt, and 
to gov. Speaks of the 200 armed foreigners who had entered illegally, and 
of the much larger number expected this year; has no doubt the intention is 
to take possession of the country, the intrusion being probably instigated by 
the U. S. ; speaks of the general's permission to the immigrants to remain 
through the winter; sends some statistics and names; and urges the necessity 
of protective measures. Doc Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 90, 121; Dept. St. Pap., 
"MS., vi. 105-G. Feb. 18th, Pico in reply agrees with the prefect's views, and 
recommends a strict watch. Understands that Castro's promise was only 
conditional, and will * order ' that officer to cooperate. It is important to sat- 
isfy the national govt, that we are doing all we can. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 15. 
Feb. 15th, Francisco Arce writes to Vallejo that the continual irruption of 
foreign adventurers will end, if no check can be put to the abuse, in the 
country falling into the hands of those audacious people who, not content 
v ith the generous hosi^itality extended to them, 'advance more and more in 
their design to destroy our political system and deprive us of our native 
country.' Y^allejo, Doc, MS., xi\. 184. In Guerrero's letters of Jan. -Feb. to 
Manuel Castro, he alludes in a somewhat mysterious way to Consul Forbes 
in connection with the departure of Pico's comisionado, Covarrubias, for Mex- 


The Californian authorities were naturally alarmed 
at the presence of so many armed Americans in the 
north at a time when war was regarded as imminent; 
and they felt impelled as Mexican officials to exhibit 
more alarm than they really felt. Moreover, the gov- 
ernor and prefect were disposed to criticise the per- 
mission accorded to the immigrants of 1845, simply 
because it was Castro that granted it. But it is no- 
ticeable that no practical steps were taken, and no 
real disposition was shown, either to oppress foreign 
residents, or even to enforce the going of the new- 
comers who had promised to depart in the spring if 
required to do so. In the records of these two months 
we have nothing but the old hackneyed official expres- 
sions of the evils likely to arise from the increase of 
American immigration; and in the following months 
no change in this respect was observable.* 

ico, seeming to indicate, though there is nothing clear, an understanding 
with Forbes respecting a scheme of some importance in connection with Co- 
varrubias' mission. Castro, Doc, MS., i. 262, 313; ii. 12. This may possibly 
have a bearing on the traditionary English schemes of this year, in connection 
with Pio Pico's statement, Ilisl. CaL, MS., 136-7, that Covarrubias was in- 
structed to apply to the commander of some English vessel for protection if 
he could get no aid from Mexico. Pico claims also that he made many efforts 
to secure a conference with Castro, with a view to declare the country's inde- 
pendence, a step that was prevented by the general's jealous fears! 

* March 2, 1846, Pico to the assembly. Complains that through the 'tol- 
erance or dissimulation ' of certain parties — that is, Castro and the military 
authorities — Mexican orders and his own instructions to prevent the illegal 
entry of overland immigrants have not been carried out. Olvera, Doc, MS., 
13-14. March 4th, Justice Bolcof of Sta Cruz laments the injury done by 
foreign lumbermen, who refuse to pay taxes. April 5th, Justice Pacheco at 
S. Jos6 complains at great length of the foreigners who, just because they 
have married and obtained naturalization, put themselves on a level with and 
even above the natives. See the Sainsevain mill affair in the local annals of 
S. Jos6. Doc Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 158. Complaint that the true faith lias 
been insulted by Sutter and Forbes. Dept. St. Pap., MS., viii. 127. April 
17th, Sub-prefect Guerrero again wants to know what to do with the foreign- 
ers who swarm at Yerba Buena. Their number is continually increased by 
deserters, who do not mind the penalty of public works, eating more than 
they earn. Doc Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 176. April 17th, order to sub-prefects, 
«tc., that foreigners not naturalized cannot hold lands, no matter how ac- 
quired, that alcaldes- must enforce this, and make the foreigners understand 
it, and also that they are liable to be expelled from the country whenever the 
^ovt may see fit to require it. Id., iii. 175. Same sent to Larkin by sub-pre- 
fect on April 30th. Larkin's Doc, MS., iv. 109. Same to Leidesdorff April 
30th. Sawyer's Doc, MS., 36-7. This is the nearest approximation to the 
order, mentioned by many Bear Flag men, expelling all Americans from the 
country, and causing them to rise in self-defence! May 2i?th, Vallejoto Cas- 
tro. Learns that in July 2,000 American families will arrive. Something 


Fremont's operations in March, as detailed in a 
former chapter, had no other effect than to stir up ill 
feeling between the Californians andAmericans; the 
former being surprised and offended by so grievous an 
outrage coming from an officer of a government in whose 
paternal solicitude for their welfare and earnest desire 
for their favor they were being urged by Larkin and 
others to trust; while the latter, in certain sections, by 
distorted and false versions of the affair, were made 
to believe, or obtained a pretext for asserting, that 
Castro and his men were determined to drive Ameri- 
cans from the country. This was a serious obstacle 
to Larkin's plans. He could but disapprove Fremont's- 
policy, yet as consul, not knowing under what instruc- 
tions that officer was acting, he afforded him all pos- 
sible aid, and prepared for possible contingencies by 
sending down the coast for a man-of-war; but after 
Fremont had been brought to his senses by reflection 
and the consul's advice and Castro's military prepara- 
tions, Larkin did not yet despair of success and hast- 
ened to assure his government that there was no real 
hostility on the part of the Californians, who were in 
their turn asked to believe that all had been an error, 
which should cause no interruption of friendly feelings. 
To the secretary of state lie wrote that Castro's acts 
ao^ainst Fremont had been intended chieflv for effect 
in Mexico, and that for the same purpose a commis- 
sioner was to be sent with the unfounded reports that 
Fremont's men were joining the Indians for an attack 
on the farms, that the settlers were about to take 
possession of a northern town, and that Hastings was 
laying out a town for the Mormons at New Helvetia. 
Yet notwithstanding the excitement growing out of 
the Fremont affair, "the undersigned believes that 
the flag, if respectfully planted, will receive the good- 
will of much of the wealth and respectability of the 

should be done to prevent it. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 57. June 11th, Diaz 
to Castro. Belden has arrived and rejwrts no new arrivals of estrangeros at 
the Sacramento. Doc. fliM. Cal., MS., iii. 133. 


country. Those who hve by office and by the absence 
of law, and some few others, would faintly struggle 
against a change. Many natives and foreigners^ of 
wealth are already calculating on the apparent coming 

The action of the military junta at Monterey in 
April has been fully noticed. Its avowed purpose 
was to devise means of defence against foreign aggres- 
sion; and there is nothing in the contemporary records 
of its acts and discussions to indicate any ulterior mo- 
tive or sentiment of disloyalty to Mexico on the part 
of its members. There is a tradition, however, some- 
what widely published, that the junta took into con- 
sideration, not only a scheme of independence from 
Mexico, but also of a foreign protectorate or annex- 
ation, the failure of the scheme being due chiefly to 
the inability of members to agree whether California 
should be intrusted to the protection of the United 
States, England, or France. 

Lieutenant Revere, who arrived at Monterey while 
the junta was in session, was ^'favored by an intelli- 
gent member" with what purported to be the sub- 
stance of two speeches delivered by Pio Pico and M. 
G. Vallejo, the former in favor of annexation to France 
or England, and the latter an eloquent plea in behalf 
of the United States. Revere published these speeches 
in his book in 1849, with the explanation that ''the 
arguments of Vallejo failed to carry conviction to the 
majority, but the stand taken by him caused a sudden 
sine die adjournment of the junta, without arriving 
at any definite conclusion upon the weighty matter 
concerning which they had met to deliberate." Va- 

^ April 3d, 18th, L. to sec. state. Larkin^s Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 49-51. 
To the U. S. min. in Mexico he expressed his confidence that there was no 
danger of invasion by Americans. Id., i. 71. Yet L. had jiJst received a let- 
ter from Hastings, in which that gentleman predicted great things for Cal. 
from the immense immigration; and announced that a business firm — really 
under a confidential arrangement with the govt, made for reasons that L. will 
readily understand — was to despatch two ships each year, bringing immigrants 
free of charge ! Larkbi's Doc, MS., iv. 55. 


llejo, after writing to Pio Pico a letter embodying his 
views, left Monterey for Sonoma to await the issue. 
Pevere's account, founded on information obtained, 
not at the time — when he knew nothing *' except the 
notorious facts that two parties existed, and that Gen- 
eral Vallejo was supposed to be the leader of the 
American party, while Castro was at the head of the 
European movement" — but subsequently, and doubt- 
less after the conquest, has been repeated by Lancey 
and others, with the additional information that the 
junta met at San Juan I Of course, as the reader 
knows, Pico took no part in the meeting, being at Los 
Angeles at the time; nor is Revere's explanation — 
that J. A. Carrillo ''reflected the views of Pico, offi- 
ciated as his especial mouth-piece," and might even 
have made the speech attributed to Don Pio — calcu- 
lated to throw much light on the subject, as Carrillo 
was politically a bitter foe of the governor.® 

Colonel Vallejo was perhaps the source of Revere's 
information, and at any rate, he has become chief 
sponsor for the events as described in later years. 
In 18G6, John W. Dwinelle, after a consultation with 
Vallejo, reproduced the speeches, which he stated to 
have been put in writing at the time of delivery by 
Larkin.^ Finally, Vallejo himself, in his manuscript 

^Revere's Tour, 24-32; Lancey*s Cruise, 51-4; Marin Co. Hist., 62-5; 
Mendocino Co. Hist., G2-8. Revere adds that in a private conversation Castro 
asked a few weeks later ' whether the govt of the U. S. would give him a 
brigadier general's commission in case he decided to pronounce for the estab- 
lishment of their authority. ' ' He spoke apparently in jest, but I could per- 
ceive that the promise of such an appointment would have had its eflfect. ' 
C. E. Pickett, in Shuck's Repres. Men, 229-30, gives a very muddled account 
of this junta in connection with that convoked at Sta Bdrbara. 

^ Dio'uielle's Address, 18GG, p. 21-7. He describes the meeting as an infor- 
mal one, held at the house of Castro at Monterey; does not name Pico as author 
of the first speech, since he is 'now a loyal citizen of Cal, ;' and he speaks of 
the action of this meeting as having made useless the holding of that at Sta Bar- 
bara, though as a matter of fact the latter was not called until May, long after 
the former was held. In a memorandum for Dwinelle's use, Vallejo, Doc, 
MS., xxxiv. 197, says Pico's speech was made at Los Angeles; and names 
consuls Larkin aiHi Gasquet as having been present at the Monterey meeting. 
Swasey, who was at Monterey at the time, says, Cal. '45-6, MS., 8-9, and in 
conversation, tliat such a meeting was held, at which Vallejo prevented the suc- 
cess of a plan to put the country under English protection; but he does not 
claim to have known anything of the matter beyond a cuiTent report of tlie 


history, gives a detailed account of the whole matter^ 
which is more or less fully confirmed by Alvarado.^ 
His version is that Castro convoked the junta osten- 
sibly to devise means of defence, but really to gain 
the support of leading citizens against Pico, whom he 
proposed to overthrow in favor of some man who 
would take part in his own schemes for a French pro- 
tectorate. Vallejo was summoned to aftend the junta, 
and was joined on his way dy Sanchez and Al vires at 
Santa Clara. The meeting was held on the 27th of 
March, at the house of Larkin, and was presided by 
Castro, wdio in an opening speech, that accredited by 
Revere to Pico, made an argument in favor of annex- 
ation to France.® Castro's proposition caused some 
surprise, as he had been supposed to favor absolute in- 
dependence. David Spence then urged the advantages 
of England as a strong nation, which, though protes- 
tant, afforded equal protection to her catholic citizens. 
Rafael Gonzalez made a speech in favor of ''Califor- 
nia, libre, soberana, y independiente"! and was fol- 
lowed by Prudon and Sanchez in behalf of the United 
States, by Pablo de la Guerra ^^ and Juan Al vires 
for independence, by Hartnell for England, and by 
Cambuston for France. Finally, Vallejo made his 
famous speech in favor of annexation to the United 
States-/^ and Prudon immediately called for a vote on 
Vallejo's proposition. Castro objected, with satirical 
allusion to the ''gentlemen of the frontier" who were 
present only by condescension of the south and centre, 
representing the wealth and intelligence of the coun- 

8 Vallejo, Hist. Cat., MS., v. 61-92; Alvarado, Hist. Cal, MS., v. 133-46. 

^ The speech is given in full. Vallejo tells us that to Castro's final clause, 
'I propose annexation to France,' Hartnell, the official reporter (?), an English- 
man, added: ' or England,' etc. — words really spoken by Spence, though Cas- 
tro favored France decidedly, on account of her religion, as he said. 

^° Except by this author Guerra is supposed with much reason to have been 
a partisan of England. Alvarado says that he should have favored indepen- 

^^The speech in substance as given by Revere. Vallejo says that many 
delegates were present from the south, all in favor of England except Bandini 
and A. M. Pico, who favored the U. S. Bandini certainly was not there, and 
probably no southern delegate was even invited to come. 


try, and insisted that a vote must be taken on his own 
proposition. Prudon replied, but the feeHng of the 
assembly was manifestly against him, and Vallejo 
barely succeeded in having a vote postponed until 
after a recess. During this recess, realizing that his 
party was outnumbered by the opposition, which 
would doubtless unite in favor of England, Vallejo 
and his friend* decided to quit Monterey and to re- 
turn to their homes, which they did, leaving the junta 
without a quorum, and thus defeating temporarily all 
schemes of European intervention!^^ 

A desire to be strictly accurate, the leading mo- 
tive of all my historical researches, compels me to 
state that I believe all that has been said of this meet- 
ing, including the eloquent speeches so literally quoted, 
to be purely imaginary. No such meeting was ever 
held, and no such speeches were ever made. My be- 
lief in this respect is founded on the absence of any 
contemporary corroborative evidence, under circum- 
stances which would certainly have produced allusions 
to such extraordinary schemes and discussions ; espe- 
cially on the silence of Larkin, who assuredly would 
have known and written about a matter so particu- 
larly interesting and important to himself; and on 
the many inherent discrepancies and errors that have 
been pointed out in the testimony extant. There is 
no reason to doubt that Vallejo was disposed in 1846 
to favor annexation to the United States, or that 
others looked with more favor on European nations 
for protection ; and it is not unlikely that some of the 
leaders may have expressed their preferences to one 
another and guardedly to foreigners; but in thus re- 
cording a formal meeting, with deliberate discussion of 
propositions to deliver their country to a foreign power, 

'■^It is to be noted that Vallejo makes the date of the junta March 27th, 
while its action of April 11th, abundantly recorded, is not mentioned at all by 
him. He speaks of Pico's letter disapproving of his speech, and of the junta's 
action, though most of the members had assembled by Pico's order, with in- 
structions to vote for England ! but Pico's letter and Vallejo's reply are ex- 
tant, as already noted, and they contain no reference to foreign relations. 


I am very sure that General Vallejo's memory has 
been greatly aided by his imagination. 

On April l7th, the day of Gillespie's arrival with 
news of Larkin's appointment as confidential agent, 
Larkin wrote letters to Abel Stearns, Jacob P. Leese, 
and John Warner, to whom he communicated news 
brouglit from Mazatlan by the Portsmouth^ to the 
effect that war was believed to have been declared, or 
at least that it would not long be delayed. In the 
event of war, he writes, "I believe the stars would 
shine over California before the Fourth of July! bless- 
ing those who see them and their posterity after 
them." This, he believes, would be most advanta- 
geous to the people, though probably not to himself 
and other merchants. "As a trader, I prefer every- 
thing as it is; the times and the country are good 
enough for me." After painting in bright colors the 
benefits of annexation to the United States, the writer 
urges the gentlemen addressed to disseminate his 
views with diligence and secrecy, reporting promptly 
all that they could learn of the popular feeling in their 
respective sections. Especially were the people to be 
warned against the evils of European interference. In 
their distress, '^some look to England, some to the 
United States, and a few to France as a dernier ressort. 
Those who look to Europe know nothing of a Euro- 
pean colonist's life, or of the heavy tax and imposi- 
tion he suffers. The idea of independence is from his 
mother's breast implanted in every native of the Amer- 
ican continent. Then where should he look for assist- 
ance but to the United States of America 1 He will 
there find a fellow-feeling with those who can partici- 
pate in all his ideas, and hail him as a republican and 
citizen of the land of freedom. Be all this as it may, 
from the time of Mr Monroe, the United States have 
said that no European government should plant colo- 
nies in North America. Mr Polk reiterates this posi- 
tion, and his government will make it good; and the 


day that European colonist by purchase, or European 
soldier by war, places his foot on Californian soil, 
that day shall we see the hardy sons of the west come 
to the rescue." ^^ 

At or about the same time Larkin prepared an- 
other letter, expressing views similar to those just 
noted, but in language almost identical wdth that used 
by Buchanan in his instructions. This document 
without signature w^as translated into Spanish, and 
was intended to be shown to different Californians,. 
but only as embodying Larkin's private opinions.^^ 
To the secretary of state the consul wrote, that while 
the leaders would prefer to rule the country under 
Mexico, and were inclined ^;o vacillate in their ideas 
of foreign protection, yet he believed they would not 
oppose annexation to the United States if their offices 
and salaries could be secured to them.^^ To Gillespie 
Larkin wrote: "I have said, as my opinion, to Castro, 
Carrillo, and Vallejo, that our flag may fly here in 
thirty days. The former says for his own plans war 
is preferable to peace, as affairs will at once be brought 
to a crisis, and each one know his doom. I answered 
that without war he could secure to himself and his 
friends fame, honor, and permanent employ and pay. 
He and others know not what to do or say but wait 
advices from Mexico ... I have had many of the lead- 

^^ April 17, 1846, L. to Stearns, Leese, and Warner. Larkin's Off. Correap., 
MS., i. 77-9. This letter might be shown to Californians, but neither origi- 
nal nor a copy must be allowed to fall into their bands. 

^* No date, Larkin's circular letter. Co^y in Sawyer's Doc, MS., 18-24, 
with a note by L. explaining the circumstances under which it was written — 
in Feb. he says, but this must be an error, perhaps of the copyist. I have 
not found the original, but Sawyer saw it among L. 's papers before they 
came into my possession. In this document the Californians are clearly in- 
formed that the U. S. will not permit European intervention, but will wel- 
come Cal. as a sister republic or as a part of the American union. 

^5 April 17, 18 to, L. to sec. state. Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 52-4. 
He says Castro talks of going to the Sacramento in July to prevent the entry 
of expected immigrants. He is probably not in earnest, but if he does go it 
will only hasten the crisis. Larkin thinks Castro will soon overthrow Pico; 
represents Forbes and Gasquetas men not very influential or likely to meddle 
much in politics; and he thanks the president for his appointment as agent, 
promising to do his best to give satisfaction. 


ers at my house to inquire into the news, and I be- 
lieve they are fast preparing for the coming event. "^^ 

Respecting the poHcy of Sutter in these days, so 
far as foreign relations are concerned, little is known. 
He was not in 1846, as he had been to some extent 
before, one of those to whom Larkin confided his po- 
litical plans. In a communication to Castro, written 
in April or May — the same in which he warned that 
officer against Gillespie as an agent of the United 
States with important despatches for Fremont, whom 
he perhaps intended to recall from the northern fron- 
tier — Sutter wrote: "I recommend you to station a 
respectable garrison at this point before the arrival 
of immigrants from the United States, which w^ill be 
about the middle of September. According to reports, 
they may number some thousands, though not ten 
thousand, as has been said. Believing that the gov- 
ernment will buy my establishment, I shall put every 
thing in the best order. I am putting a new story on 
the large new building which you have seen, and will 
make it ready as soon as possible, containing quarters 
for two or three hundred soldiers, with sufficient pa- 
rade-ground within the fort for the troops. I have also 
written to Prudon about this matter. "^^ The only 
comment to be made on Sutter's warning against Gilles- 
pie, and on his recommendation to garrison New Hel- 
vetia against American immigrants, is that these acts 
were much more consistent with his duty as a Mexi- 
can citizen and officer than with his later pretensions 
of American partisanship. 

On May 13th was issued the call for a 'consejo gen- 
eral de pueblos unidos,' to deliberate on the future 
destiny of California. I have already noticed this con- 

i« April 23, 1846, L. to G. Larkin's Of. Corresp., MS., i. 73-5. 

" No date (about 3 weeks after Fremont's visit), Sutter to Castro in Span- 
ish. Castro, Doc, MS., 98, 41. For the letter to Prudon, see chap. xxv. , this 
vol. Sutter's preparations were soon to be utilized, as will be seen, but not 
by a Mexican garrison, as he had intended. 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 5 


sejo as a phase of the controversy between Pico and 
Castro, and explained that the opposition of the latter 
and his friends prevented its success. It has been be- 
lieved from that time to this, that the promoters of 
this council intended in it to urge the scheme of inde- 
pendence from Mexico, involving probabl}^ an appeal 
to some other nation for protection. The wording of 
the call,^^ together with the correspondence of such 
men as Stearns and Larkin, indicates that the belief 
was well founded; though little contemporary evi- 
dence exists from Californian sources.^*^ I have no 
doubt that the consejo would have discussed the 
questions to which I have alluded; that among the 
members would have appeared advocates of loyalty to 
Mexico, of absolute independence, of annexation to 
the United States, and of an English or French pro- 
tectorate; and that on a vote the parties would have 
stood numerically in the order just indicated. Friends 
of the United States might very likely have united 
with the advocates of independence, since, in the event 
of no war with Mexico, independence would have been 
less embarrassing to the government at Washington 
than annexation, though practically and eventually 
amounting to the same thing. But all the other factions 
would have united in behalf of Mexico, and California 
would almost certainly have maintained its former 
status, so far as the consejo could affect it. 

Larkin was not alarmed at the rumors that the 
consejo was to be controlled by advocates of European 
interference. He proposed to visit Santa Barbara 
in person; and he had no doubt of his ability, with 
the aid of Vallejo, Bandini, and Stearns, all of whom 
he urged to attend as members, to prevent any tri- 
umph of foes to the United States, though he did not 
expect a positive decision in favor of his own plans. 

'^See chap. ii. of this vol. 

^^May 30, 184:6, Manuel Castro to J036 Castro. Mentions the nnnor that 
the southern delegates will favor independence; at which the writer is indig- 
nant, and urges the gen. to take part in the consejo, with a view to prevent 
the success of such a scheme. Sobenoics, Doc, MS., 322-5. 


Stearns thought the proposed meeting would consider 
foreign relations only as a secondary question, the 
quarrel between Pico and Castro being of primary 
importance; but he believed that the United States 
had more friends in the south than any European 
nation, and that a majority would favor annexation, 
could they be assured of immediate protection against 
Mexico. '^^* 

The importance of the proposed consejo, as a scheme 
designed to put the country under the protection of 
England, has been grossly exaggerated, as indeed has 
all that pertains in any way to English interference. 
It has been asserted that Pico and other promoters 
of the council had so arranged its membership as to 
insure a decision in favor of Great Britain. Many 
native Californians have taken this view of the mat- 

2'' May 14, 1846, Stearns to Larkin, announcing the convocation of the con- 
sejo. He says: ' The idea among the Californians for independence has for a 
long time been cherished liere at the south; more so than at the north. 
Such a measure I have always been opposed to, and think it a wild scheme. 
Other plans have been spoken of by some — such as to ask protection of Eng- 
land or the U. S. The desire for some kind of a change is almost universal, 
as it is certain that no protection can be expected from Mexico in her present 
revolutionary state.' Larkin's Doc, MS., iv. 119. May 21st, L. to S. Id., 
Off. Gorresp., MS., i. 80. May 24th, L. to Leese. Asks him to urge Vallejo 
to attend the consejo. Id., i. 81. June 1st, Stearns to L., explaining his 
ideas as to the object of the meeting. Id., Doc, MS., iv. 151. 'I often 
hear the most respectable people say, " Ojala que tome esta los Americanos"! 
They appear to be inclined to any kind of a change that will free them from 
Mexico. The govt men are of the same opinion generally.' June 1st, L. to 
Gillespie. Does not believe the junta will have a quorum. 'I have no rea- 
son to suppose that this junta is more than to do something for the benefit of 
Cal.; what that may be the members themselves do not exactly know. . .1 as 
a private person told For])es, Castro, Vallejo, and Prudon that if they were 
confident that Mexico would do nothing for Cal., to make one more effort and 
present from a large junta a respectable (sic) memorial representing the state 
of Cal.; and if Mexico cannot afford protection, let them humbly offer their 
advice of selling the country. Forbes told me he could not mention such a 
thing. I told him I would, and my govt could displace me if they saw 
proper; as I had no pay (!), there would be no risk or loss; that as a private 
man and land speculator I would agitate questions for my private ends, bene- 
fit, and account. To do this he wishecl me to be there ' — at Sta Barbara. Id., 
Off. Gorresp., MS., i. 87-9. June 1st, L. to sec. state, announcing the pro- 
posed holding of the consejo by the gov. and assembly, 'from a dread of some- 
thing, they hardly know what.' Id., ii. 56. June 18th, L. to Mott and Tal- 
bot, Mazatlan. Thinks the scheme will fail. Id., Doc, MS., iv. 165. Castro, 
Relacion, MS., 177-80, says that Pico's motive in convoking the consejo was 
to forestall Gen. Castro in his supposed scheme of a foreign protectorate — a 
most ridiculous enterprise. The gen. had really sent Guerra (so G. claimed 
also) to urge Pico to join him in such a scheme. 


ter, especially certain arribefios, who have thus ac- 
counted for their opposition to the scheme, with a 
view to magnify their services in behalf of the United 
States. ^^ Another fruitful source of exaggeration was 
the congressional investigation of a few years later 
respecting California claims on the treasury, on which 
occasion it became important for certain interests to 
magnify the importance of services rendered by revo- 
lutionists to the United States. Many witnesses were 
brought forward to prove that California had been on 
the point of being surrendered to England by the au- 
thorities, the transfer being prevented — as was Pico's 
prodigal distribution of lands among his English friends 
— by the prompt action of American settlers on the 
northern frontier. The absurdity of this claim will be 
shown later; and I introduce the matter here only to 
show the origin of a popular idea, that California was 
in imminent danger of being handed over to England. 
The testimony cited was that of those who merely 
repeated the rumors current among a class who had 
the least opportunities of knowing the facts; and they 
paid but little attention to the chronology of such ru- 
mors, confounding those that followed with those that 
preceded the raising of the American flag in July.^'^ 

^» Vallejo, Hist. Cal, MS., v. 41, 93; Id., Doc, MS., xxxiv. 192, is positive 
in his statements to this eflfect, declaring also that Forbes was active in promot- 
ing the scheme. Alvarado, Hist. Cal., MS., v. 109-10, 146-50, expresses the 
same opinion, so far as Pico's designs are concerned; but he thinks the gover- 
nor's following was not numerically strong, and he names David Spence as the 
most prominent English agent. Osio. Hist. Cal., MS., 457, confirms the state- 
ment that Pico was intriguing with Forbes and other agents of England, Ra- 
fael Pinto, Apunt. , MS., 106, claims to have started for the south with Pablo de 
la Guerrra, who was sent by Castro and Alvarado to confer with Pico, and 
urge a scheme for an English protectorate. Manuel Torres, Pcriperias, MS. , 
72-4, tells us that Dr Stokes was one of the most active partisans of the 
English cause; but that Forbes and Richardson held aloof. See also, on Pico's 
schemes, Juarez, Narr., MS. ; Carrillo, Narr., MS., 6-10; Sanchez, Notas, MS., 
22. John Bidwell, Cal. in I84I-8, MS., 141-2, says it was generally under- 
stood that Pico and other prominent men were agitating the question of English 
protection, and he thinks there was some foundation for the idea. Juan Fors- 
ter, Pioneer Data, MS., 28-9, also thinks there was an understanding be- 
tween English . agents and the Californian authorities. See also Lancey\s 
Cruise, 54. Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest, i: 40, names Vallejo as an advo- 
cate of English schemes ! See also HaWs Hi'^t. S. Jos6, 143, and many news- 
paper articles. 

"Fremont's Cal. Claims (30th cong. 1st sess., Sen. Repts no. 75); Dix's 


The truth of the matter is simply that Pico and 
half a dozen other somewhat prominent men, includ- 
ing Pablo de la Guerra and Juan B. Alvarado, were 
inclined, through various motives of personal ambi- 
tions, dislikes, and friendships, to favor European 
intervention as a means of keeping their country from 
the United States. Popular sentiment was not strong 
in their favor, and they could not have controlled the 
consejo in behalf of England, even had they acted 
together, as they were not likely to do. The theory 
that Pico had so planned the meeting as to control 
it absolutely in this respect, or in any other respect 
except that of opposition to Castro and the northern 
clique, was one developed in later years from the 
imagination of Vallejo and his friends. Larkin and 
Stearns, the men best qualified to judge in the mat- 
ter, had no fear of results so far as the action' of Cali- 
fornians was concerned, their only apprehensions, 
much less troublesome than in former years, being 
founded on what England might accomplish in Mex- 
ico. Had England sent a force to take California, 
together with guaranties of office or emolument to 
Pico and Castro, then the attitude of those officials 
would have assumed an importance that it did not 
possess under any other circumstances. What were 
the plans of the English government it is no part of 
my present duty to consider. 

It is not easy to determine what steps were taken 
by Forbes and David Spence to encourage Pico and 
his friends in their purpose of appealing to England. 
The correspondence of the time naturally touches this 

speeches, i. 278-80; HartmanrCs Brief, 61-75. Lieutenants Gillespie and 
Minor were the witnesses that spoke most positively about the Sta Barbara 
j unta, the former getting his information from Leese chiefly, and the latter — 
who represented the junta as having actually decided in favor of England — 
from Pedro C. Carrillo. 15 or 20 other witnesses testified to the general 
belief that Pico was granting the public lands as fast as possible to English- 
men. The chief absurdity to which I have alluded in my text was in the 
claim that the action of the northern revohitionists, in the middle of June, 
had any effect to clieck Pico's grants. Most of the witnesses mention the 
McNamara grant, which will be fully noticed later, and of which nothing 
was known in northern California before the end of June. 


topic but vaguely."^ Forbes always denied having" 
been concerned in any intrigues whatever in behalf 
of his government. In conversation with Larkin in 
1846, he gave him to understand that he had once 
been reprimanded by his government for having 
introduced the subject of California politics in some 
of his communications; that he believed the rumors 
of English negotiations with the authorities to be 
false, though England would not regard with satis- 
faction the interference of any other nation; that his 
individual preference was in favor of the United 
States, though his official position did not permit an 
open expression of this preference; and finally, that 
his policy would be to say nothing, not to meddle in 
politics, and to acquire some lands in anticipation of 
the coming change.^* It is not by any means neces- 
sary to place implicit confidence in the literal accuracy 

2^ March 17th, Forbes writes to Bandini: 'You beuig in my opinion a man 
whose intelligence penetrates the designs of California's foes, and not being 
able at present to enter into particulars, I have authorized Henry Dalton to 
propose to you a certain method of frustrating those designs in a manner 
honorable and beneficial to this country. Please write to me if you find it 
necessary in order to forward i»lie desired object.' Bandini, Doc, MS., 68. 
Don Juan's reply, Id., 69, was dated April 21st. It was long — Bandini never 
wrote a short communication — and somewhat vague and mysterious. The 
danger was no secret to him, he said, and he seems to approve the plan pro- 
posed; but 'unfortunately we are in a country where everything cannot be 
told, and where a good result cannot be expected if the few men capable of 
treating so serious a subject do not dedicate themselves exclusively to it.* 
It is necessary to use great caution, to dissemble, and to await an opportunity, 
carefully avoiding premature action, etc. He also alludes vaguely to com- 
mercial topics. This corresp. may or may not have a political significance. 
Forbes seems to have addressed Pico, asking an explanation respecting Fre- 
mont's motives; for Pico, on April 22d, replied that he did not know what 
those motives were, but assuring Forbes that the govt does not admit the 
protection of any foreign power. Dept. St. Pap., MS., viii. 128. 

2' May 21, 1846, L. to Stearns. Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., i. 80-1. 
May 24th, same to same. Id., i. 81-3; Id., Doc, MS., iv. 138. May 26th, 
same to same. Id., Off. Corresp., MS., i. 83. 'It is possible that the gov. 
may obtain sufficient from Mr Forbes to give up any idea of looking to Eng- 
land.' June 1st, L. to Gillespie, Id., i. 87-9. June 1st, L. to sec. state. 
Id., ii. 56-8. The same idea is clearly expressed in all these letters. Stearns 
had written on the 14th of May that he knew positively that English agents 
were at work; and L. had been somewhat alarmed at the news until he had 
talked with Forbes and Spence. McKay, Recollections, MS., 4, arriving at 
8. F. in March, says he found the air thick with rumors on account of Fre- 
mont's operations. The Englishmen there seemed to take sides with the 
Americans, though they blamed the English govt for not taking prompt 
action to secure the country for the British crown. 


of these statements of Forbes and Spence; but it is 
well to note that evidence against them is exceedingly 
slight, and that Larkin, the man best qualified and 
most interested to learn the truth, as well as the one 
who had in former years been most suspicious of 
English interference, was inclined to credit those 

In May Larkin appointed Abel Stearns his confi- 
dential agent for Los Angeles and southern Califor- 
nia, implying, though not stating clearly, the nature 
of his own relations to the administration at Washing- 
ton.^^ At the end of the month he wrote to Fremont, 
and said in answer to the latter's offers to be of ser- 
vice to him at Washington: "I have neither demands 
nor favors to ask of our government, nor 'odds,' to use 
a western expression. What time may require, time 
must bring to light. You are aware that great 
changes are about to take place in a country we are 
both acquainted with; to aid this I am giving up busi- 
ness, holding myself in readiness for the times to 
come, and the results; thus drawing myself into the 
political vortex. This in time may bring my name 
too prominently forward, so that I may be assailed. 
Should this ever happen, you may render me service."-^ 
The same sentiments respecting the country's pros- 
pects are expressed to Buchanan in a letter of June 
1st, in which Larkin suggests that he would be will- 

25 May 23, 1846, L. to S. Larkin's Of. Corresjx, MS., i. 84. The follow- 
ing paragraph illustrates one trait of the writer's character: 'You are aware 
I have Ijeen for some time in public employ without any pecuniary remuner- 
ation, and therefore cannot offer you any. I can only say the offer cannot be 
of much trouble or expense to an active and energetic man like yourself, who 
would find a pleasure in what others would call laborious business. I cannot 
even promise you that my offer holds out any future inducement to you or 
your interests, but I believe that both may be advanced at some future day 
not far distant. Therefore the end may justify the means, at least in the re- 
sult. You must only look for recompense at present in an extended knowl- 
edge of affairs.' Nothing of Larkin 's $6 per day! L. also wrote in these 
times letters for the N. Y. Herald and Sun, as appears from corresp. with 
Bennett and Beach in Larkbi's Doc, MS., iv. 124, 129. These editors valued 
the letters highly, and offered pay, but L. would accept nothing, unless possibly 
protection in case of future slanders. 

26May 31, 184G, L. to F., in Larhiii's Off. Corresp., MS., i. ^Q. 


ing to undertake a secret diplomatic mission to Mexi- 
co on the pretext of collecting sums due him personally ; 
and also suggests that he has at Washington a relative, 
Eben L. Childs, who might be utilized as special mes- 
senger to California, or who might be employed to 
write secret despatches without signature, as his hand- 
writing was known to Larkin.^' This idea arose from 
the delay of the important despatch of October 17, 
1845, of which Larkin had as yet received only a copy 
written from memory of the duplicate intrusted to 
Gillespie. The original arrived, however, before the 
15th, on which date Larkin renewed his thanks for 
the honor, describing his zealous efforts in the past, 
urging the necessity of an increased salary, and for- 
warding carefully prepared sketches of California, its 
condition, institutions, and people.^^ About this time 
he obtained from General Castro, in an interview, a 
general assent to his political scheme, in the form of a 
written plan of a movement of independence to be 
undertaken as soon as the number of foreign settlers 
should be deemed sufficient to insure success.^^ 

"June 1, 1846, L. to sec. state. Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 56-8. 
June 1st, receipt of Narciso Botiller for $40 from L. for carrying a mail from 
Sta Clara to Monterey. Monterey, Consulate Arch., MS., ii. 15. Phelps, 
Fore and Aft, 283-4, tells us that being at Los Angeles early in June, when 
despatches arrived announcing that war would soon be declared, he was as- 
sured by Pico that in spite of orders from Mexico, American trading vessels 
on the coast should not be molested. 

2^ June 15th, L. to sec. state. Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 63-4; 94r-116. 
The sketches sent I quote elsewhere as Larkin's Description of California; 
and Id., Notes on the Personal Character of Californians. In the former he 
states that in a popular cause, Pico and Castro could bring into the field 800 
or 1,000 men to serve without pay for a month or more; to aid Mexico in ex- 
pelling foreigners they could raise perhaps 300 or 400. There is continual 
dread of a Mexican general coming with an army to depose the present rulers. 
Many in ofl&ce are convinced that a ' favorable change ' would so enhance the 
value of their lands as to render salary a secondary consideration. Only such 
as thrive by absence ot law can prosper in the present state of things. It 
would be well to pension off or give sinecures to men of influence and posi- 
tion, as they would then quietly draw others with them. June 17th, Forbes 
writes to Bandini that the Juanita is expected to bring news of war. Bandini, 
Doc, MS., 74. June 19th, Pico tells Bandini that the English corvette 
brought news of war, but he knows nothing officially. Id., 76. 

On allusions more or less accurate to the efforts and hopes of Larkin and 
others, see Dunbar's Romance^ 30-1; Pacheco, Contra Costa Gazette, Dec. 21, 
1867; Willey's Thirty Years, 13; Hyde's Statement, MS., 6-7; Torres, Peripe- 
cias, MS,, 49; Pinto, ApunL, MS., 104; Leese's Bear Flag Mem., MS., 9; 
Sanchez, Notas, MS., 21-2. 

2» Larkin to sec. state, July 10th. Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 77. 


From a careful study of the correspondence and 
other evidence cited in this and the two preceding 
chapters, I reach the following conclusions respecting 
the condition of Californian affairs in the early weeks 
of June 1846: All classes of the inhabitants realized 
that a political change was imminent. There was 
little hope that Mexico would or could afford protec- 
tion or relief by sending money and an army ; nor was 
it expected that without such aid the country could 
much longer maintain its status as a Mexican depend- 
ency. The anticipated change must naturally be 
either a declaration of absolute independence, or an- 
nexation in some form to a foreign power. The United 
States or England might get the country either by 
conquest, purchase from Mexico, or voluntary action 
of the Californians. There were prominent men among 
the natives disposed to favor each of the schemes pro- 
posed, though not yet openly or actively; while their 
parties were not clearly defined, the masses being for 
the most apathetic and indifferent. Notwithstanding 
the strong prejudice against Mexico, affinities of race, 
language, religion, and association were still potent in 
favor of loyalty; yet on the other hand many were 
beginning to speculate on the prospective increase in 
the value of their lands under a new regime. With 
personal interests in conflict with the old prejudices, 
the ultimate issue was wellnigh certain. The chief 
authorities, political and military, while protesting 
their loyalty to Mexico and their determination to 
resist foreign invasion, were in reality lukewarm in 
this respect, being thoroughly in earnest only in their 
opposition to each other. In their minds the contro- 
versy between Pico and Castro outweighed all ques- 
tions of national allegiance, and was second only to 
personal and ambitious interests. Any foreign nation 
taking a decided stand could have obtained the cooper- 
ation of either Don Pio or Don Josd, if not of both. 
Had it been practicable to bring the question of the 
political future to a voting test among representative 


men, loyalty to Mexico would have temporarily won 
the day, mainly through the inability ^f other factions 
to combine their forces. 

While not yet sufficiently numerous or zealous to 
effect an immediate change in their own favor against 
all the others, the American party was beyond all 
comparison the strongest. It really included the in- 
dependents, since a declaration of independence was 
in certain contingencies quite as favorable to the 
United States as an appeal for annexation. Ameri- 
cans were more numerous, and collectively more in- 
fluential, than foreign residents of any European 
nation. A large increase of immigration was expected 
in the early future. The Californians were republi- 
cans, with but little sympathy for monarchical insti- 
tutions. Not only was the American party aided by 
delay and by the general tendency of events, but 
more active agents were at work. Larkin, as a secret 
confidential agent of the administration at Washing- 
ton, was working zealously to advance the cause. He 
was authorized not only to conciliate the favor of 
leading Californians, and to urge the advantages of 
annexation, but also to promise welcome to a new 
'sister republic,' and, w^hat was still more effective, to 
state that his government would use force to prevent 
European interference. He was confident, as were 
other leading Americans, and not w^ithout good rea- 
sons, that he was making rapid progress, notwithstand- 
ing the drawbacks occasioned by Fremont's blunders. 
It was believed that in the event of war California 
might be occupied without any serious opposition 
from the people; and that if there was no war, the 
Californians would soon by declaring their independ- 
ence start voluntarily on the way to ultimate annexa- 
tion. The imminence of war was in itself, of course, 
a favorable circumstance, as it could hardly fail to 
result in an American occupation, not likely to be 
merely temporary. 

The only obstacle that could seriously impede the 


progress of American plans was armed interference by 
a European power. This was understood in Califor- 
nia, and there were a few leading men, including Pico, 
who were in favor of an appeal for protection to Eng- 
land. These men and their followers were influenced 
not so much by a preference for a European system 
of government as by their personal ambitions, their 
friendships for resident Englishmen, and their quar- 
rels with individual Americans. They knew that Eng- 
lish holders of Mexican bonds, as well as English 
travellers, had recommended the acquisition by their 
government of Californian territory. They were en- 
couraged in their ideas of a British protectorate by 
British residents ; and they adopted the current Amer- 
ican idea that England had set her heart upon acquir- 
ing the country. There is no evidence that they re- 
ceived any official encouragement from the British 
government or its agents, and no proof that Forbes 
and Spence were intriguing with Pico in favor of an 
appeal to England. Pico and his friends had a right 
to entertain their preference, which was by no means 
a criminal or unreasonable one, as it has been the 
fashion among excessively American writers to imply; 
but as a matter of fact, they were never very deeply 
in earnest, never had much strength as a party; and 
the popular idea that they were likely to control the 
destinies of California has been an absurd exagger- 
ation. So far as negotiations or intrigues in the 
country were concerned, the scheme of European in- 
terference was a most shadowy myth. The only 
danger to be apprehended by the United States was 
that England would obtain a cession of California from 
Mexico, and would attempt a forcible occupation, se- 
curing the governor's cooperation as a pretext of pop- 
ular approval. This danger was also a slight one; 
but I shall have occasion to speak again of it. 

Finally, we have found no disposition on the part 
of Californian officials or the Californian people to mo- 
lest foreign residents. Pico and Castro, in accordance 


with their routine duty as Mexican officials, talked of 
resisting invasion, and even of preventing the entry 
of the thousands of immigrants expected over the 
mountains in the autumn; but they had no thought 
and made no threats of expelling those in the country. 
Americans were treated quite as well as Englishmen 
or other foreigners. The immigrants of 1845 were 
not even notified to leave the country, as they had 
promised to do if required. The popular prejudice 
against foreigners, fomented by personal intercourse 
with individuals, and still more by reports from Mex- 
ican sources of what had been done in Texas, was nat- 
urally stronger against Americans than others; but 
considering the imminence of war and other unfavor- 
able circumstances, the toleration and kindness mani- 
fested were remarkable, and in themselves afforded 
evidence that Larkin's hopes of success in his concili- 
atory policy were not without foundation. 



June, 1846. 

An Unexpected Outbreak — Its Alleged Motives — Self-defence and 
Resistance to Oppression — Mere Pretexts — Current Rumors— The 
Insurgents Classified — Adventurers — American Enthusiasts — Am- 
bitious Politicians— Real Motives of the Leaders — Fremont's Pol- 
icy — Gillespie's Mission — Ambition and Revenge — A Bold Resolu- 
tion— Overmuch Caution — Nature of Fremont's Cooperation — Ide's 
Theories and Statements — A Filibustering Scheme — Needless, Un- 
justifiable, Productive of No Good — Not a Part of the Conquest — 
Serious Responsibilities of the Insurgent Leaders — A Fortunate 

The condition of affairs being as described in the 
preceding chapter, there broke out in June a revolt of 
American settlers in the Sacramento and Napa valleys, 
who with the support of Fremont's men seized the town 
of Sonoma, captured several leading Californians, and 
proclaimed the country independent. The action was 
startling to all but participants. It was so unexpected, 
so utterly inconsistent with the policy by which agents 
of the United States believed themselves to be mak- 
ing progress toward voluntary annexation; the time 
was so strangely chosen, when news of war, involving 
a legitimate military occupation, was expected from 
day to day; and indeed, the affair was apparently so 
ill-timed, ill-advised, and extraordinary in all its phases, 
that it becomes necessary to study the motives that 
led to the outbreak before proceeding to narrate in 
detail its stirring scenes. 



I begin with the alleged motives, which were by 
no means m^^sterious or complicated, and to illustrate 
which I introduce in the appended note a somewhat 
extended list of quotations.^ Long as it is, the list 

^ In History of the Bear Flag Revolt, by a Committee of Citizens, published in 
1S47, we read: ' The American and other foreign portion of the people of Up- 
per California learned in May 1846 that the govt had determined upon their 
expulsion from the country, and were making preparations to seize or kill all 
foreigners, and send such as should be made prisoners to the city of Mexico. 
A large body of horses were collected, and some 500 or 600 men were ordered 
under arms by Gen. Castro for that purpose. Information was received by Mr 
W. B. Ide on June 8th, brought by an Indian runner, that 200 mounted Mexi- 
cans were on their march up the Sacramento River, with the design of destroy- 
ing the crops, burning the houses, and driving off cattle belonging to the for- 
eigners.' Ide proceeded to warn and organize the settlers, but ' it was quite 
apparent that further and more decisive action was necessary to secure the 
lives and property of the immigrants; and it was determined to seize the fort 
of Sonoma.' Wni B. Ide was probably the writer of the preceding. In Ide's 
Bioq. Sketch, 48, Mrs Healy (Miss Ide) says: 'We had not been there long [on 
Belden's rancho in April] before a young man, Mr L. H. Ford, came to tell father 
that Gen. Don Castro was on his way to drive all Americans from the country.' 
On p. 51-2 we read: ' Soon after his arrival he was confronted with the solu- 
tion of an important problem regarding the rights and privileges of himself 
and his fellow -emigrants . . . He supposed he had conformed to all the legal con- 
ditions entitling him to all the privileges, etc., of a citizen (I). . .The question 
was, whether he should be forcibly ejected from his humble abode and diiveii 
back to the states, or whether he would unite with his fellow-emigrants in re- 
sisting the threatened war of extermination as put forth in a proclamation of 
the then reputed governor of the country . . . He had seen the pioclamation of 
(xen. Don Castro warning the emigrants to leave the country or they would 
be driven into the mountains or made prisoners, or be shot in case of re- 
sistance. ' p. 6"2. The ' inhuman and arbitrary exaction ' of taxes from foreign- 
ers is mentioned on p. 90. In his remarkable letter to Senator Wambougli, 
which fills a large part of the volume, regretfully omitting Ide's ingenious ar- 
guments, we read, p. 106: ' Imagine the disappointment of those brave men 
who hail conquered the difficulties of the pathless Sierra, etc. . . . when by the in- 
tervention of a self-constituted government, heated to madness by jealousy, 
excited by designing emissaries, we were forbidden the usual hospitalities of 
the country and ordered to return!' On p. 108-9, after a sharp blow at Lar- 
kin and Fremont, Ide writes: ' Immediately after [about the first of April], 
Gen. Jos6 Castro, naturally humane and generous, caused to be issued and 
posted up at Sonoma and various other places a proclamation ordering ' all 
foreigners whose residence in the country was less than one year to leave the 
country and their property and beasts of burden, on pain of death. ' This dan- 
ger was temporarily averted in a way not clearly described, though a large 
2)arty was frightened away to Oregon; when Gillespie came and went after 
Fremont. When Fremont came he soon circulated the following: ' Notice is 
hereby given that a large body of armed Spaniards on horseback, amounting 
to 250 men, have been seen on their way to the Sacramento Valley, destroy- 
ing the crops, burning the houses, and driving off the cattle. Capt. Fremont 
invites every freeman in the valley to come to his camp at the Buttcs immedi- 
ately.' The letter to Wambough is repeated in Ide^s Who Conquered CalJ 

The following statements are from men who took part in the revolution, 
or at least were in Cal. at the time. Henry L. Ford, Bear Flan Revolution, 
MS., 3, tells us that a meeting of Mexican officers at Sonoma 'resulted iu 
Gen. Castro issuing his edict for all Americans to leave tlie country. ' Wni 
Hargrave, Cal. in ^6, MS., 3, says the hostility of the natives was very bit- 


might be made longer, even if restricted to original 
authorities; and it might be extended almost without 
limit if made to include accounts of later writers in 

ter, and foreigners became convinced that in bold action lay the only pros- 
pect of safety. According to Benj. Dewell, in Napa Reporter, Oct. 12, 1872, 
*the Spaniards became very troublesome in the spring.' James Gregson, 
Statement, MS., 3, has it that Sutter received a proclamation ordering all 
Americans to quit the country, wliich he read to the settlers, asking them to 
stand by him. Marshall, Statement, MS., 1, says one cause of the alarm was 
the knowledge that Castro wanted to purchase New Helvetia. Belden says 
there was some talk of preventing furtlier immigration, and even of getting 
rid of those already in the country. Wist. Statement, MS., 44-5. Semple, 
Hesperian, iii. 387-8, says that during the winter Castro issued several proc- 
lamations, to the effect that all foreigners not naturalized must leave the 
country; but the people remained quiet, believing that the order could not 
be enforced; and paid but little attention to an order read at Sonoma for all 
Americans to depart forthwith; but were finally alarmed by Castro's mili- 
tary preparations — really against Pico. 

In the Monterey Calif ornian, Sept. 5, 1846, we read: 'Each man having 
felt the oppression of the then existing govt, and the certainty of an increase 
of those oppressions, with a clear sense of their danger, their rights, and 
their duty, they rushed to the rescue with one impulse and one object. The 
watchword was equal lights and equal laws, and they nobly sustained their 
principles.' And in the same journal of May 23, 1847: 'In this state of things 
Gen. Castro issued one proclamation after another, ordering foreigners to leave 
the country; biit the people, knowing the character of Castro, remained quiet 
until the time was ripe for action.' 

Fremont, in a letter of July 25, 1840, to Benton, writes: 'I had scarcely 
reached the Lower Sacramento when Gen. Castro, then in the north at So- 
noma, declared his determination immediately to proceed against the for- 
eigners settled in the country, for whose expulsion an order had just been 
issued by the gov. of the Californias. For these purposes Castro immedi- 
ately assembled a force at the mission of Santa Clara . . . Castro's first measure 
was an attempt to incite the Indian population of the Joaquin and Sacramen- 
to valleys, and the neighboring mountains, to burn the crops of the foreigners, 
and otherwise proceed immediately against them.' In his testimony in 1847 
Fremont says: 'Information was receiv^ed that Gen. Castro was then raising 
forces and exciting the Indians both against the settlers and my party, upon 
the unfounded pretext of an intended insurrection by them against the Mexi- 
can govt in Calif ornia . . The movement was one of self-defence.' Fr6mont\s 
Cal. Claims, 12-13. Gillespie testifies: 'So soon as it became known to the 
settlers that Capt. Fremont had returned, they came to the camp, biinging 
us the information that the Indians were leaving their rancherias, or wigwams, 
and flying to the mountains. In some places they had shown a very hostile 
feeling, and certainly had been aroused by some foreign emissiary ... On the 
30th I was informed by Capt. Sutter that it was positively true that Gen. 
Castro had excited the Indians to a revolt and to join the Californians in ex- 
terminating the settlers; that the Indians had been bribed to burn the wheat 
then nearly dry; and that it was Gen. Castro's intention to attack and cut off 
Capt. Fremont's party if he possibly could ... On June 7th I learned (at S. F. ) 
that Castro had gone to Sonoma to hold a council with the Vallejos and to 
procure horses to commence his operations, which he endeavored to disguise 
under the rumor of making an attack upon the gov., Don Pio Pico, who had 
disapproved of Castro's want of good faith in making his first attack upon 
Capt. Fr(3mont in March '(!). May 28th, 'a courier was recei\'ed from (^apt. 
Sutter, informing Capt. Fremont and myself that "two Spaniards had been 
sent by Gen. Castro amongst the different tribes of Indians, and that this was 


books and newspapers, who have generally accepted 
without question the testimony of the contemporary 
witnesses. The testimony is clear and to the point. 
It is to the effect that the revolt was purely a 
movement of self-defence on the part of the Ameri- 
can settlers; that General Castro had published a se- 
ries of proclamations ordering all Americans not nat- 
uralized to quit the country before a specified date, 
under penalty of being forcibly expelled; that he had 
collected a large military force with which to enforce 
his orders; that he had started to attack the settlers, 
having meanwhile instigated the Indians to destroy 
the Americans' crops; and that the settlers had sim- 
ply to choose whether they would fight in defence of 
their homes and families, or, abandoning their prop- 
erty, flee to almost certain destruction in the moun- 

the cause of their flying to the mountains, they having been excited against 
the settlers.'" *An Indian had been taken prisoner who had received a mus- 
ket from Gen, Castro for the express purpose of killing Capt. Sutter ' { !). /fZ., 
25-6, 29. Samuel Hensley testifies: 'I returned to Sutter's a few days after 
seeing Vallejo,' who had told him of the English scheme. 'Capt. Sutter in- 
formed me that there was great excitement among the Indians; that he had 
sent for the Seguamme chief who had recently been among the Calif omian 
settlements. . .On his arrival Sutter examined him as alcalde. The chief 
stated that he had seen Castro, and that Castro had made him great promises 
on condition that he would excite Indians to burn all the wheat crops of the 
American emigrants, as he intended to drive all the Americans out of the 
country in a short time.' Then Hensley went to Fremont's camp to report and 
to give it ' as my opinion that American residents would have to leave the 
country or tight for their homes; at the same time saying I was sure we 
would not leave the country. ' Id. , 33-4. Richard Owens said : ' We foimd 
the people expectmg an attack from the Calif ornians . . .The report was, and 
it was generally believed, that Castro had instigated the Indians to rise and 
burn the crops of the settlers. Proclamations had been sent out ordering the 
Americans to quit the country or they would be driven out by a certain time. 
It was known that troops had been collected at Sta Clara, and that Gen. 
Castro had come into Sonoma for the purpose of raising a body of Spaniards 
and Indians to come out against the emigrants and Capt. Fremont's party.' 
/d., 38. Wm N. Loker said, besides confirming the statements of Hensley 
and Owens: 'Just before his [Fremont's] return there was a meeting of the 
principal men at Monterey. They then thought it advisable to order all for- 
eigners to leave the country, and published a bando to that eflfect. . .Women 
and children were included in the banishment. . .The bando was translated 
and sent up the valley; and I put one of them up at Sutter's Fort.' Id., 39- 
40. June 1, 1846, Sutter wrote to Vallejo that the Moquelumnes had risen, 
and he was about to march against them before they could set fire to his 
wheat, as they had been advised to do by persons at S. Jos4, and before 
Eusebio could kill him with a gun which the same persons had given him for 
that purpose. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 220. In his Dicwy, p. 7, Sutter also 
tells the story of Castro's inciting the Indians against him; and he describes 
the campaign against them wliich began June 3d. 


tains and deserts of the overland route. Driven, 
however, to fight for self-protection, it is not denied 
that they took a certain patriotic pride in conquering 
new territory for freedom, in opening new fields for 
Anglo-Saxon enterprise, in overthrowing an inefficient 
and antiquated system, and in rescuing even their 
oppressors from Mexican tyranny ! It is a grand and 
thrilling picture, and one that has been more than once 
brilliantly portrayed — that of a little band of heroic 
men who defied the power of a nation, and resolved 
to die rather than be driven like dogs from the homes 
to which they had been invited, and to secure which 
they had crossed a continent! What a pity to go be- 
hind the scenes and expose the stage effect I 

As is well known to the reader, the revolting set- 
tlers were men who had been hospitably received in a 
land which they had entered in defiance of its laws. 
The political and military authorities had given their 
national superiors just cause of offence by their toler- 
ation of the strangers in spite of positive orders. 
They had not threatened or oppressed Americans, 
notwithstanding the imminence of war and their pe- 
culiar position. General Castro did not issue the 
proclamations imputed to him; did not order the set- 
tlers to quit the country; did not organize an army 
with which to attack them; and did not instigate 
savages to destroy their crops. That he could have 
done any of these things without its reaching the 
knowledge of anybody south of San Francisco Bay 
is improbable; but such acts would also have been in 
direct opposition to the spirit shown in all correspond- 
ence of the time. The Americans of the Sacramento 
had nothing to fear from the Californians ; and this 
must have been almost as well known to the leading 
spirits of the revolt as to us. The alleged motives, 
so far at least as the leaders were concerned, were as- 
suredly not the real ones. They were but pretexts 
of designing men, used at the time to secure unanim- 
ity of action, and after success to justify that action. 

Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 6 


I am disposed to think, though I cannot prove it, 
that certain men went so far as to circulate forged 
translations of edicts purporting to emanate from 

For it cannot be doubted that rumors of impend- 
ing hostility and expulsion were current in the north- 
ern valleys, or that they were credited by many, even 
of those who required no such incentive to revolt. 
There were many who did require such an incen- 
tive. I do not attempt to name them. Let it be 
hoped they constituted a majority of all. They had 
been but few years in the country; were fitted by 
education to believe anything that was bad respecting 
a man who had Spanish blood in his veins; did not 
approve the Mexican methods of life or government; 
could hardly understand the justice of requiring of a 
free American citizen any formalities of passports or 
naturalization; and they were firm believers in the des- 
tiny of their nation to possess this western land. But 
at the same time these men were lovers of peace and 
law. They had a dim perception of the right of a 
people, even Mexicans, to govern their own country in 
their own way; and only by fear of actual oppression, 
and as a measure of self-defence, could they be in- 
duced to engage in a filibustering scheme involving 
the shedding of blood, especially if the objects de- 
sired were likely to be accomplished legitimately by a 
little delay. 

The support of these men was essential to success, 
and the circumstances were all favorable for the rev- 
olutionists. The American settlers of the northern 
frontier formed an isolated community, coming but 
rarely and indirectly into contact with the natives, 
and knowing but little of what was actually occurring 
south of the bay. News was eagerly sought, and 
the wildest rumors found ready listeners. Larkin's 
efforts and prospects were naturally but vaguely 
known, if at all, to the majority. Long delay in the 
declaration of war by Mexico had caused fears on the 


part of some that there would be no war, and that 
for a long time no aid was to be expected from the 
naval forces of the United States. The troubles of 
March between Castro and Fremont were known in 
the north mainly through false reports of the latter 
and his men; and it was widely believed that Castro 
had arbitrarily and treacherously driven Fremont out 
of the country after having promised hospitality. 
Castro was known to be organizing a military force 
at Santa Clara. This organization, with Castro's an- 
nouncements as a Mexican officer of a determination 
to defend California against the expected invasion in 
case of war — an invasion with which he naturally and 
with much real alarm connected Fremont's return 
from Oregon at the bidding of an official messenger 
from Washington — as intrepreted in the north, was 
readily confounded with hostile preparations against 
the settlers. That Castro in reality feared Pico and 
his southern allies much more than he did the Amer- 
icans was not generally understood by the immi- 
grants; and some of the revolutionists had the assur- 
ance even to attribute Pico's hostility to his disapproval 
of Castro's opposition to Fremont and to the foreign- 
ers ! Finally, just at the most opportune moment for 
the plans of the filibusters, Castro sent a party of 
armed men, as will be narrated presently, to bring a 
large number of horses from the north; and this 
movement was fully utilized to remove any lingering 
doubts that yet remained as to the necessity of 
defensive aggression. That the revolution was to 
prevent English occupation of the country, and es- 
pecially to prevent the success of the McNamara 
colonization scheme, was entirely an invention of 
later times; but the tenure of lands was a subject on 
which the settlers were very sensitive, and there are 
some indications that among the current rumors were 
some to the effect that the Californian authorities 
were making hurried grants of all public lands in 
anticipation of a political change. 


Eliminating that element which engaged in the 
revolt honestly as a measure of self-defence, whose 
fears of danger to life and property though unfounded 
were to some extent real, we shall find among the 
remaining filibusters, including most of the leaders 
and many of the followers, some diversity of motive. 
There was a class — among the overland immigrants, 
deserters from vessels who had come up to New 
Helvetia from the bay, and Fremont's men — com- 
posed of adventurers pure and simple. Keckless, 
daring, and unprincipled men, with nothing to lose, 
they were eager for a fight with the Californians, 
partly for the mere excitement of the thing, just as 
they were always ready for a fight with the Indians. 
In the turmoil of a revolution, something might occur 
to their advantage; at least, they could gratify certain 
personal dislikes; and especially did they have an eye 
on the herds of the native rancheros. Of another 
stamp were political adventurers, whose reward was 
to be, not plunder in the vulgar sense, but glory and 
office and wealth, under a reformed political system. 
Some were enthusiastic Americans, who believed in 
the manifest destiny of their nation to possess this 
land, and had no doubt of their right to raise the stars 
and stripes anywhere in America, without regard to 
the wishes of the natives. They looked upon the 
Californians as an inferior people, who must be taught 
by force the beauties of freedom, and who had no 
right to resist what they chose to regard as their own 
superior civilization. They regarded independence 
as but a step to annexation, and they were proud to 
aid such a cause, even in a struggle which should 
involve the shedding of blood, and utter disregard of 
national, departmental, or individual rights. Some 
of the leaders looked forward to official prominence 
in an independent Californian republic; others looked 
further, to the contracting of debts, the issuance of 
bonds, and to future profitable negotiations with the 
United States; while still others looked upon the 


movement as but the beginning of war in favor of the 
United States, from the government and people of 
which nation they expected great honor, and in which 
war they hoped to secure a more prominent position 
than if they waited for the naval forces to begin 
hostilities. They were all mere filibusters, and were 
entitled to none of the sympathy or honor which the 
world accords to revolutionists who struggle against 

The revolution broke out soon after Fremont's re- 
turn from Oregon; and it would not have broken out 
at all had it not been for the presence and cooperation 
of that officer and his hardy followers. Consequently 
his movements and motives have great interest in this 
connection; and they have been the subject of much 
speculation and comment in later years. An impres- 
sion has been prevalent that Fremont engaged in the 
revolt by reason of secret instructions from the United 
States, conveyed to him by Gillespie either in writing 
or verbally, or indirectly through private letters from 
Senator Benton. Fremont has never stated that he 
received such instructions : having of course no right 
to do so even if it were true. On the contrary, he 
has often denied it more or less directly. But in his 
testimony and that of Gillespie in 1847-8 room was 
left, designedly I think, for an inference that they 
could say more if at liberty to do so; and the spirit of 
this testimony, given at a time when it was sought to 
legalize against the United States certain claims for 
supplies taken by Fremont's men, together with the 
secrecy observed by the government respecting the 
written instructions to Gillespie, Larkin, and Fremont, 
originated, as I suppose, the current theory to which I 
have alluded, but which, for reasons that will present- 
ly appear, I regard as without foundation in fact.^ 

■^ Fremont testified that Gillespie 'brought me a letter of introduction from 
the sec. of state, and letters and papers from Sen. Benton and his family. 
The letter from the sec. was directed to me in my private or citizen capacity, 
and though importing nothing beyond the introduction, accredited the l)earer 


The story of Fremont's return from Oregon has 
been told in an earher chapter. The reasons that he 
gave for that return were the dangers of further ad- 
vance northward, arising from the depth of snow, lack 
of supplies, and hostility of the Indians — and the na- 
ture of the communications received from Gillespie. 

to me as coming from the sec. of state, and, in connection with the circum- 
stances and place of its delivery, indicated a purpose in sending it which was 
intelligibly explained to me by the accompanying letter from Sen. Benton, 
and by communications from Lieut Gillespie. This officer informed me that 
he had been directed by the sec. of state to find me, and to acquaint me with 
his instructions, which had for their principal objects to ascertain the dispo- 
sition of the California people, to conciliate their feelings in favor of the U. 
S. , and to find out, with a design of counteracting, the designs of the British 
govt upon that country.' Fremont's Cal. Claims, 12. And again, in FHmoni'H 
Court-martial, 373: 'One of the letters from him [Benton], while apparently 
of mere friendship and family details, contained passages enigmatical and ob- 
scure, but which I studied out, and made the meaning to be that I was re- 
quired by the go\'1; to find out any foreign schemes in relation to the Cal. and 
to counteract them.' Gillespie said his instructions were 'to watch over the 
interests of the U. S. in Cal., and to counteract the influence of any foreign or 
European agents who might be in that country with objects prejudicial to the 
U. S. I was the bearer of the duplicate of a despatch to the U. S. consul at 
Monterey, T. 0. Larkin, Esq., as also a packet for J. C. Fremont, Esq., and 
a letter of introduction to the latter gentleman from the Hon. James Buchan- 
an; the former I destroyed before entering the port of Vera Cruz, having 
committed it to memory. The packet and letter of introduction I delivered 
to Capt. Fremont upon the 9th of May, in the mountains of Oregon ... I was 
tlirected to confer with and make known to him mj' instructions. It was de- 
sirable that we should act in concert, and great vigilance and activity was ex- 
pected of both ... I made him acquainted with the wishes of the govt, which 
were the same as stated above for my own guidance. . .In answer to the first 
inquiry of the honorable committee, "'Were you charged with any verbal in- 
structions or communications?" etc., I have to state that I was directed by 
Mr Buchanan to confer with Col. Fremont, and make known to him my own 
instructions ... I was also directed to show to Col. Fremont the duplicate of the 
despatch to Mr Larkin. In answer to the 2d inquiry, "You have said that 
you communicated the wishes of the govt to Col. Fremont; state particularly 
what you did communicate to him as the wishes of the govt," I beg leave to 
state that the answer above contains, as near as I can recollect, what I com- 
municated to Col. Fremont; telling him at the same ^ime that it was the wish 
of the govt that we should conciliate the feelings of the people of Cal., and 
encourage a friendship towards the U. S.' Id., 30-3. 

That the testimony cited was regarded at the time as evasive and incom- 
plete, is shown by the following quotations from the report of the house com- 
mittee in Aug. 1848, denying the validity of all claims contracted before the 
U. S. flag was raised, on the ground that Frdmont and the rest acted without 
any known authority from the U. 8: 'What the purpose was in sending an 
officer of the U. S. in search of Col. Frdmont, with a simple letter of intro- 
duction, "which was intelligibly explained by the accompanying letter of Sen. 
Benton," is left to conjecture, except so far as is disclosed by the language of 
Col. Fremont as quoted; but the effect was to turn Col. Fremont with the 
men under his command from their exploring expedition to Oregon back into 
Cal., where they at once "joined the settlers" (or the settlers joined them), 
and engaged in a revolutionary movement against the authorities of Cal. . . 
Up to this time there was and could have been no knowledge in Cal. of the 


These communications, as both officers stated, required 
them *'to ascertain the disposition of the Californian 
people, to conciliate their feelings in favor of the 
United States, and to find out, with a design of coun- 
teracting, the designs of the British government upon 
that country." These reasons, even if the former was 

existence of war between Mexico and the U. S. Whether the purpose of the 
sec. of state, acting as it must be supposed under the direction of the presi- 
dent, and so "intelligibly explained" by the letter of Sen. Benton, was de- 
veloped by the conduct of Col. Fremont consequent therefrom, must be en- 
tirely a matter of surmise until that "intelligible explanation" shall have 
been presented to the public; but it is very manifest that much yet remains 
to be told of this as yet dark and mysterious proceeding. ' Thus the opera- 
tions were 'undertaken either upon individual responsibility and without 
the authority of the govt or any of its departments, or such authority being 
given, it is not only not disclosed, but studiously withheld from the public 
eye.' Fremont's Gal. Claims (House Rept no. 817), 1-5. I do not refer here 
to all the govt reports on the Cal. claims, and on Fremont's court-martial, 
though all of them contain more or less repetition of the testimony and com- 
ments cited. 

Senator Clark, in his speech of April 25, 1848, Clark's Speech on Cal. 
Claims, p. 3-14; also in Cong. Globe, 30th cong. 1st sess., appen., p. 569; see 
also, in Id., speeches of other senators on the subject — made a strong argu- 
ment for the payment of the claims, on the ground that the U. S. govt had 
undoubtedly instructed Fremont through Gillespie to act as he did, though 
the speaker by no means approved the policy of the govt. 'Whilst the U. S. 
were professing to be governed by a spirit of justice and love of peace upon 
the eastern border of Mexico, different indeed was her course in regard to 
those states in the west, as shown by the mission of Gillespie early in Nov. 
1845, with secret instructions to the consul in Cal., and to call from scien- 
tific pursuits an officer to foment rebellion and aid in revolutionizing the 

Jay, Mexican War, 150-4, takes a similar view, and after citing the evi- 
dence, remarks: 'It is impossible to resist the conviction that Fremont was 
given to understand, but in a way not to compromit the govt, that the aban- 
donment of the exploration in Oregon for the purpose of exciting and aiding 
an insurrection in Cal. would not expose him to censure.' Edmund Ran- 
dolph, in his Oration, says: ' But resentment and anticipation of evil were 
not the sole cause of this movement. There cannot now be a doubt that it 
was prompted, as it was approved, by the govt of the U. S.; and that Capt. 
Fremont obeyed his orders no less than his own feelings . . . What Fremont's 
instructions were is a well kept cabinet secret, which will probably not be di- 
vulged, at least in our time.' Dwinelle's Address, 1866, p. 19-20. 'There is 
reason to believe that he was instructed to feel the geographical pulse of the 
natives as well as the mountain passes. ' Wise's Los Gringos, 41 . ' There were 
some expressions in a letter from Col. Benton that the old senator's son-in-law 
studied with extraordinary diligence. No doubt the oral communications of 
Gillespie helped to draw from them a deeper significance than the words con 
veyed on the first reading ... Fremont determined to become the pursuer 
rather than the pursued, to turn upon the faithless foe, and revolutionize the 
govt. This would have been a hazardous course, . . . unless, either in his secret 
instructions before starting or in the advices conveyed by Lieut Gillespie, he 
was assured that a successful indiscretion of this sort would bo acceptable to 
his govt. As to the precise plan he adopted, there is no doubt that he con- 
sulted his own judgment alone. But there is abundant circumstantial evi- 
dence that he was given to understand that any defensible method of gaining 


somewhat exaggerated as is probable, were amply 
sufficient to account for and justify his action in turn- 
ing back, though he well knew — as the government 
did not — that his services as a conciliator were not 
likely to be very effective in California. There is no 
need of secret instructions in favor of filibusterism to 
account for his actions so far. Yet were that all, and 
did the nature of the communications rest solely on 
the testimony of Fremont and Gillespie, the theory 
of such secret instructions would perhaps be as fasci- 
nating for me as it has been for others; but there is 
other evidence which I deem conclusive. Secretary 
Buchanan's secret instructions to Larkin as confiden- 
tial agent — the nature of w^hich has been a matter of 
surmise to other writers; which are represented to 
have been in purport identical with Gillespie's instruc- 
tions; which he was directed to show to Fremont; a 
duplicate of which he destroyed after committing its 
contents to memory; but the original of which is in 
my possession — confirm entirely the cited testimony 
of the two officers, though not all the inferences they 
desired to be drawn from that testimony ; and contain 
no encouragement, direct or indirect, for any revolt 
except by the Californians themselves. Had this 
document been one written to be seen with intent to 
mislead those into whose hands it might fall, it would 
prove nothing in this connection; but its existence, on 
the contrary, was intended to be kept, and has been 
kept until now, a profound state secret. It contains 
a clear presentment of the policy of the United States 

Cal. to the Union would be acceptable, . .A hint was enough for one so ambi- 
tious as Fremont, and if he was not instructed he was most fortunate in his 
instincts. A different issue might have overwhelmed him with reproach. 
As it resulted, he had the perfect and flattering indorsement of the sec. of 
state.' TuthilVs Hist. Cal, 1G7-8. As early as 1847, F. D. Atherton, in a 
letter from Valparaiso to Larkin, expressed grave doubts that Fremont had 
been turned back by the snows in June. Larkin' s Doc, MS., v. 58. 

I might easily extend these citations to show the prevalence of the idea 
that Fremont acted under secret instructions; but those given are sufficient. 
Nor do I deem it necessary to cite the opinions of numerous Mexican and 
native Califomian writers to the same effect, because they had in reality little 
opportunity of knowing anything about Fremont's motives, most of them 
taking it for granted that he acted as a secret agent of the U. S. 


— to take possession of California in the event of war 
with Mexico ; to prevent, by force of arms if necessary, 
any occupation by a European power; but meanwhile 
to conciliate by every possible means the good- will of 
the natives, with a view that the occupation in case 
of war might be without opposition, or, if there were 
no war, that the people might voluntarily seek annex- 
ation a little later. This policy, from an American 
standpoint, was essentially a sound and prudent one. 
I have already expressed my opinion that the means 
adopted to carry it out were not in certain respects 
honorable from an international point of view; but T 
am by no means willing to charge the administration 
at Washington with an action so stupidly inconsistent 
as to have sent on the same date and by the same 
confidential messenger, to two different agents in Cali- 
fornia, two radically different and utterly irreconcila- 
ble sets of secret instructions. I think there can be 
no possible room for doubt that Fremont's instruc- 
tions were identical with those issued to Gillespie and 
Larkin ; and I believe that no doubt would ever have 
arisen on the subject had the document which I have 
cited been known to previous investigators. 

Assuming, then, that Fremont engaged in a revolu- 
tionary movement, not in accordance with, but in dis- 
obedience of his orders from Washington, what were 
his motives? He claimed to act at the entreaties of 
the American settlers in defence of their lives and 
rights. I need not repeat that this on his part, as on 
that of other leaders, was a mere pretext, Fremont 
most certainly not being one of those who really be- 
lieved the settlers to be in danger. I cite in a note his 
letter to Benton in explanation of his action.^ Clearly 

' ' You will remember how grossly outraged and insulted we had already- 
been by this officer [Castro]; many in my own camp and throughout the coun- 
try thought that I should not have retreated in March last. I felt humiliated 
and humbled; one of the main objects proposed by the expedition had been 
entirely defeated, and it was the opinion of the officers of the squadron (so 
I was ijiformed by Mr Gillespie) that I could not again retreat consistently 
with any military reputation , . , My animals were in such a state that I could 
not get out of the valley without reaching the country which lies on the west (?) 


the retreat from Gavilan in March had been a severe 
blow to the captain's pride, and the wound still smarted 
as irritated by the taunts of bold and irresponsible 
comrades and of filibustering settlers. Yet there can 
be no doubt that Fremont's strongest incentive was 
personal ambition. He confidently counted upon an 
immediate declaration of war between the United 
States and Mexico; and he believed that b}^ commenc- 
ing hostilities he might gain for himself a large share 
of credit for the conquest, which would otherwise fall 
to the naval commanders. The prevalent rumors 
among the settlers aflforded him a plausible pretext for 
an action that also offered a remedy for wounded mil- 
itary pride. Should he err in his expectations of war, 
there would yet remain a chance of prominence in an 
independent Californian republic. Young and adven- 
turous, he resolved to take the risks. From the stand- 
point of a purely personal ambition, he decided wisely. 
The result probably surpassed his most sanguine ex- 
pectations. His decision made him subsequently a 
popular hero, a senator of the United States, a can- 
didate for the presidency, a millionnaire ad interim, a 
major-general; in fact, it gave him greater prominence 
than has perhaps ever been attained in the United 
States by any other man of no greater ability. He 
was essentially a lucky fellow. 

Our admiration for Fremont as a filibustero chief- 
tain — the only admiration due him in this connection 
— would be vastly increased had he acted with some- 

side of theni in an entirely destitute condition. Having carefully exam- 
ined my position, and foreseeing, I think, clearly, all the consequences which 
may eventuate to me from such a step, I determined to take such active and 
anticipatory measurc<» as should seem to me most expedient to protect my 
party and justify my own character. I am well aware of the grave responsi- 
bility which I assumed; but I also determined that, having once decided to do 
so, I would assume it and its consequences fully and entirely, and go through 
with the business completely to the end. . .On the Gth of June I decided on 
the course which I would pursue, and immediately concerted my operations 
with the foreigners inhabiting the Sacramento Valley. ' Fremont to Benton, 
July 25, 1 84G, in Niks' Reg. , Ixxi. 191 . I have already, in note 1 of this chap- 
ter, quoted this letter on Castro's hostile preparations; and I shall have oc- 
casion to refer to it again. 


what less of caution after deciding to engage in the re- 
volt, or had he been somewhat more modest in his 
subsequent claims. I have already stated that but 
for his presence and support the revolt would not 
have occurred. The departure of Hastings and Cly- 
man for the east, and of others for Oregon in April, 
shows that there was then but little hope of a success- 
ful rising. But as to the exact nature of his coop- 
eration there has been some difference of opinion. 
William Baldridge attributes the movement of the 
American settlers, of whom he was one, to Fremont's 
direct encouragement, believing — though this of course 
was an afterthought — that that officer's true purpose 
was to provoke a declaration of war by Mexico;* and 
William B. Ide had some theories on the subject, 
which will be noticed presently; but the weight of 
evidence, direct and circumstantial, goes to show that 
Fremont, while holding himself somewhat aloof from 
the masses, secretly conspired with a few leaders to 
bring about an outbreak, and promised the full support 
of himself and his party in case it should be needed, 
though as an officer of the United States he desired 
to abstain from open participation as long as possible. 
The settlers had no fear of any force the Californians 
could muster north of the bay; but if Castro were to 
send soldiers from the south, they might require as- 
sistance. This assistance Fremont promised, and, as 
we shall see, proffered later. This was the sum and 
substance of his cooperation. In the few stirring 
events of the revolution he personally took no part. 
He merely held himself in readiness to act when the 
necessity should arise, and marched against the foe 
after others had won a victory. Yet in the letter to 
Benton he clearly gave that gentleman, and through 
him the people of the United States, to understand 
that in all that had occurred he had taken an active 
part, and had been personally in command. In this 

^ Baldridge' s DaysofJfi, MS., passim. 


lie was guilty of selfish and dishonorable misrepre- 

There is another version of Fremont's part in the 
revolution which merits attention on account of its 
author's prominence in the movement, if for no other 

^Li his letter to Bentou, already cited, Niles' Reg., Ixxi. 191, Fremont 
saj's: 'On June 6th I decided on the course which I would pursue, and im- 
mediately concerted my operations with the foreigners. ' A few days later, 
etc., going on to mention the capture of Arce's horses, taking of Sonoma^ 
capture of Gen. Vallejo, etc., and continuing: 'These enterprises accomplished, 
I proceeded ' (from where?) 'to the American settlements on the Sacramento 
and Rio de los Americanos to obtain reenforcements' — thus leaving it to be in- 
ferred that he had taken an active part in all the events narrated, instead of 
remaining in camp at Sutter's Fort. Then he was called to Sonoma by news 
of a threatened attack by Castro, and in his narrative of what followed makes 
no eflFort to distinguish between his own acts and those of others, implying 
very clearly that all was done by him, with the cooperation of Gillespie, and 
continuing: 'We reached Sonoma again on the evening of July 4th, and in 
the morning I called the people together and spoke to them in relation to the 
position of the country, advising a course of operations which was unani- 
mously adopted. Cal. was declared independent, ' etc. I do not quote more 
fully, because the events have to be narrated in the next chapter; but I do not 
exaggerate in saying that Fremont deliberately conveyed the impression that 
he was in active command throughout the revolution. Benton so understood 
it, or at least wished it to be so understood; and he repeated Fremont's ver 
sion in language similar but more positive in a letter of Nov. 9, 1846, Niles' 
lieg.y Ixxi. 173, to the president, who, like the sec. of war, repeated the ver- 
sion substantially in public documents; and thus the ambitious captain ob- 
tained much popular credit and admiration which by no means belonged to 
him, even if credit or admiration had been due to anybody for such actions. 
In his Court-martial, 374, Fremont says: 'In concert and in cooperation with 
the American settlers, and in the brief space of about 30 days, all was accom- 
plished north of the bay, and independence declared on July 5th.' In August 
1856, Thompson of New Jersey — Speech on the Conquest of California, Wash. 
1856, Svo, IG p. ; also in Congress. Globe, 1855-6, p. 2006-9 — made a forcible pro- 
test in the U. S. senate against the claim of Fremont to be considered the con- 
queror of Cal., showing in a clear light the misrepresentations made by and 
in behalf of that officer, though he had to rely mainly for evidence on the 
document already cited as Hist. Bear Flag lievoL, and signed as it appears by 
Ide, Nash, and Grigsby. Thompson says: 'In these letters it will be found 
that Fr(jmont recites various successful military actions. He does not say 
that he participated in them, but states them in such a way as to leave the 
inference in-esistible that he did so. Mr Benton and Mr Marcy both take 
such for granted, and so indeed would any one on reading the artful connec- 
tion in which they are stated. Besides, there are no documents on file in the 
department from which the sec. could have uiade up the statement in his re- 
port, except the letters of Col. Benton and Mrs Frdmont. The facts relate to 
the time when Fremont joined the movement, . . .to two actions in which the 
Califomians were defeated, and the taking of Sonoma. The sec. relates these 
events so as to produce the impression (no doubt on his own mind) that Fre- 
mont was among the first to countenance the independent movement; that he 
took part in the defeat of the Mexicans and the capture of Sonoma. But 
we have positive proof showing that Fremont had nothing to do with these 
several events. ' And this was true, tliough in certain respects Thompson over- 
estimated the value of his proofs, Ide, Grigsby, and Nash being interested 
persons, like Fr<!'mont, and coloring their version accordingly. 


reason. It is that given by William B. Ide in his 
letter to Senator Wambough, and subsequently con- 
firmed to some extent by Ide, Grigsby, and Nash in 
their narrative. According to Ide, the American 
merchants, Larkin and others of his class, "failed 
not in the genuine spirit of Yankeedom to direct and 
profit by those political impositions, change of admin- 
istration, and continued increase of tariff duties by 
which during ten years of increasing distress and 
ruin the main body of the people were made misera- 
bly poor," therefore refusing support to the oppressed 
settlers; then "Fremont came among us, who, after 
having provoked the assumed authorities of the coun- 
try, left us to experience the wrath and retaliatory 
vengeance his acts had engendered ; . . . next came Gil- 
lespie, who failed not to give cautionary advice in 
relation to a state of preparedness on the part of all 
of United States origin, but dissuaded from any kind 
of organization," suggesting, however, that after Fre- 
mont's return his camp would be the means of tem- 
porary protection. Finally, after a month of suspense 
and terror on the part of the settlers in view of Cas- 
tro's proclamations and military preparations, Fre- 
mont returned from the north, and soon in writing 
summoned "every freeman in the valley to come to 
his camp at the Buttes immediately," announcing at 
the same time the approach of Castro's forces. To 
Ide and a few others, not named, Fremont made 
known his plan of conquest as follows: "First, select 
a dozen men who have nothing to lose but everything 
to gain. Second, encourage them to commit depre- 
dations against General Castro the usurper, and thus 
supply the camp with horses necessary for a trip to 
the States. Third, to make prisoners of some of the 
principal men, and thus provoke Castro to strike the 
first blow in a war with the United States. This 
done, finish the conquest by uniting the forces and 
marching back to the States." This scheme was de- 
nounced by Ide and his comrades as dishonorable and 


treacherous, whereupon Fremont in anger broke up 
the interview. "Thus ended all intercourse on our 
part with Captain Fremont until June 25th." Sub- 
sequently, however, King, inviting the visitors to 
another tent, asked, "Suppose the men succeed in 
taking the horses, what will you in that case propose 
to be done?" The reply was, "When the breach is 
once made that involves us all in its consequences, it 
is useless to consider the propriety of the measure. 
We are too few for division. In for it, the whole 
man! Widen the breach, that none can stand out- 
side thereof Down on Sonoma I Never flee the 
country, nor give it up while there is an arm to fight 
or a voice to cry aloud for Independence. But let 
truth and honor guide our course." 

Ide continues: "Several persons, among whom was 
Kit Carson, begged of Fremont their discharge from 
the service of the exploring expedition that they 
might be at liberty to join us. This was peremptorily 
refused. Fremont, in my hearing, expressly declared 
that he was not at liberty to afford us the least aid or 
assistance ; nor would he suffer any of his men to do so ; 
that he had not asked the assistance of the emigrants 
for his protection; that he was able, of his own 
party, to fight and whip Castro if he chose, but that 
he should not do so unless first assaulted by him; 
and that positively he should wait only for a supply 
of provisions, two weeks at furthest, when he would, 
without further reference to what might take place 
hero, be on his march for the States." That same 
night the captured horses arrived, and next day the 
expedition to Sonoma began; many embarking in it 
with the idea that they were only carrying out Fre- 
mont's plan of provoking hostilities.^ 

^Ide's Biog. Sketch, 107-19, confirmed in the Hist. Bear Flag Revolviion, 
by the statement that at the interview in question Fremont 'advised 
immediate organization and resistance on tiie part of the foreigners, but 
declined any action on his part or that of the men under his command,' 
stating that he expected to leave for the States in two weeks; and by the 
further statement that Frcjmont at Sonoma later declared 'that he had 
determined to pursue and take Jos6 Castro, whom he considered but an 


Ide's version will be found on close examination to 
confirm rather than contradict what I have said re- 
specting Fremont's policy. That gentleman wrote 
under a strong feeling, amounting almost to a mania, 
that he had been robbed by Fremont of the honor of 
having been at the head of the revolution, a feeling 
that strongly colored all his remarks, and led to many 
exaggerations; but though prejudiced and fanatical, 
Ide was not a man to tell a deliberate falsehood, and 
I have no doubt that his account of the interview is 
substantially correct. All goes to show that Fre- 
mont, though one of the original plotters of the re- 
volt, had a direct understanding with but few of the 
leaders, of which number Ide was not one, to whom 
he promised active cooperation when it should be 
required. To the rest he spoke guardedly, inciting 
them indirectly to revolt, but cautiously avoiding re- 
usurper in Cal., being unauthorized by the govt of Mexico, . . .that although 
he could not and would not intermeddle in the internal affairs of Cal.,' yet, 
if they would make certain pledges, 'he would not only aid them with his 
advice, but that he would volunteer his whole force against Castro, and that 
he would stand by them at least until Castro shall have been subdued.' In 
connection with the last phrase cited, I may note that Folsom, in a letter of 
Nov. 30, 1847, to Vallejo, speaks of an interview in which Fremont told 
Prudon that he was merely acting in aid of Pico against Castro. Vallejo, 
Doc, MS., xii. 321. 

Wm Hargrave, Cal. in '^6, MS, 4-11, tells us that after much discussion 
among the settlers of Napa at the writer's camp, he, Kelsey, Swift, and an- 
other went to consult with Fremont, beiag joined by others on the way. At 
the interview on Feather River, Kelsey being spokesman, Fremont seemed 
very cautious, though willing enough to resume active operations. ' He pre- 
ferred to see for himself how far the settlers of Napa and Sonoma were ready 
to go in shaking off the Mexican yoke. At any rate, he peremptorily refused 
to take any responsibility for sudden action on our part, and endeavored to 
delay or frustrate our efforts. Whether he expressed himself differently 
when he spoke to Kelsey alone later in the day I cannot say.' Hargrave 
says he later heard Fremont ridicule Ide's proclamation. Fowler, Bear 
Party, 2, also mentions the mission of Hargrave and Kelsey. Both imply 
that the rising would not have taken place at that time but for a popular 
belief that Fremont would in some way cooperate. Some favored action with- 
out regard to the captain's plans, but this was opposed by a majority. Bald- 
ridge, Days of '^, MS., passim, is confident that the settlers would not have 
risen but for Fremont's indirect promptings and promises. The writer and 
Thos W. Bradley were in Berreyesa Valley when John Grigsby and Wm Elliot 
came up with the news. * Grigsby says Fremont prompted them to take up 
arms, telling them that it would not do for him to commence the affair, as he 
was in the employ of the U. S. , but for them to seize on some place which they 
would be able to hold, and then he would discharge all Ijis men, and with them 
would join us as volunteers. He also said he wanted to start on an active 
campaign as soon as it was possible to get men enough together to do so.' 


marks and promises which might in certain contin- 
gencies be used to his disadvantage later. There is 
no reason to doubt that with his men he would have 
fought bravely, had circumstances required it, in de- 
fence of the cause he had espoused; though, as we 
have seen, he was mean enough in the hour of success 
to appropriate to himself the credit for actions in 
which he really took no part. 

In thus presenting the real causes which led to 
the revolt of June 1846, I have of course condemned 
the movement. An armed insurrection involving loss 
of life is justifiable in the eyes of the civilized world 
only as a measure of self-defence in resistance to gross 
oppression. In this case there was no oppression or 
other than imaginary danger, to say nothing of the 
fact that the revolutionists, with few exceptions, had 
entered Mexican territory in defiance of the country's 
laws. There is, however, much more to be said in 
condemnation of this revolt. In spite of our theoriz- 
ing, the world is prone to approve practically, after 
all is over, a movement, whatever its causes, which 
leads to beneficial results. Californian affairs under 
the Mexican regime were in a sad state, and not im- 
proving. An occupation of the country by a progres- 
sive nation could not fail to, and did, produce a 
marked improvement in every respect; and the tend- 
ency has been, even among those who could not jus- 
tify the revolt, to give its promoters credit for the 
good that resulted from the change. They are enti- 
tled, however, to no such credit. The revolution was 
in no sense a part of the conquest of California, 
neither leading to nor in any way promoting that 
movement. Before the revolt, the government of 
the United States had ordered the occupation of the 
country on account of war with Mexico; and the oc- 
cupation would have been effected in the same man- 
ner and at the same date had no revolt taken place. ^ 

' We shall see later that it was claimed in behalf of Fremont that his ac- 


Two specific claims, closely connected with the gen- 
eral one of having commenced the conquest, which 
have been quite generally but very carelessly allowed 
in favor of the revolutionists, are that their acts kept 
California from falling into the hands of England, and 
that they checked Governor Pico in his work of grant- 
ing the public lands to his own personal friends and 
to enemies of the United States. The absurdity of 
the first claim should be apparent. If England had 
any intention of taking California, she certainly would 
not have been deterred by the armed settlers of a 
single section. On the contrary, the revolt would 
have served as a most* plausible pretext for the Cali- 
fornians to seek and for England to grant a protecto- 
rate. As to the second claim, I may remark that the 
McNamara land grant, on which most stress is laid 
in this connection, did not come up for action in Cal- 
ifornia, and was probably unknown to every one of 
the filibusters until after the revolt was far advanced; 
that theoretically the rising must have tended, not to 
check, but to hasten Pico in granting lands; that as a 
matter of fact it did have that eflPect so far as it had 
any; and that the United States government did not 
subsequently make June 14th but July 7th the chron- 
ologic limit of legitimate grants. 

That the revolt was unjustifiable, uncalled for, and 
not productive of good results, is not by any means 
all that is to be said against it. Its promoters were 
morally responsible for all the blood shed in battle, as 
well as for outrages committed by both sides on per- 
sons and property before the raising of the stars and 
stripes ; and not only this, but for a bitterness of feel- 

tions, presumably in accord with instructions from Washington, by confirm- 
ing Commodore Sloat in his belief that war had been declared, influenced 
that officer to raise the United States flag. It is probably true that the some- 
what irresolute commodore derived much comfort from the reports of Fre- 
mont's operations, as confii-ming the news of war obtained at Mazatlan; and 
that had his exploit proved premature, like that of Jones in 1842, he would 
have urged those reports in his own defence; but it is hardly credible that 
they caused him to perform an act which he had come from Mazatlan ex- 
pressly to perform in accordance with his ordeis, and with very positive news 
that war had begun. 

Hist. Cai,., Vol. V. 7 


iiig between the two races in California which lasted 
for many years. Not only did the insurgents not con- 
tribute to the American occupation of the country, 
but they absolutely retarded it, and increased its dif- 
ficulties. They were largely accountable for all the 
blood that was spilled throughout the war. The men 
who had given the subject most attention and were 
best qualified to understand the true state of aflfairs 
believed with some reason that the change of flag 
might have been accomplished without resistance or 
bloodshed, had it not been for the outbreak at Sonoma, 
and the hostility engendered by that affair.^ How- 
ever this may be, whether or not Larkin, Stearns, and 
Leese were correct in their expectation of a peaceable 
occupation, whether or not the land owners with the 

^ In a letter of July 20, 1846, Larkin said to the sec. of state in substance 
that Cal. would in a few years have come under the U. S. flag of her own ac- 
cord; that he is inclined to regret the action of the Bear Flag party, and of 
Com. Sloat, as the people now deemed themselves coerced and injured, espe- 
cially by the Bear party. Fremont and Gillespie should have consulted 
with him and others south of the bay before beginning hostilities. Castro had 
assured him personally that he intended to declare the country independent 
as soon as there were enough foreigners to insure success. Larkiii's Off. Cor- 
resp., MS., ii. 75-7. In another letter of Jan. 7, 1847, L. wrote: ' It has been 
my object for some years to bring the Califoruians to look on our countrymen 
as their best friends. I am satisfied very many were of that way of thinking, 
and more were becoming so. Gen. Castro from 1842 to 1846 made every dem- 
onstration in our favor, and opened plans for future operations, granting pass- 
ports to all the Americans whom I presented to him. At the same time he 
made some foolish proclamations, supposing they would only be believed in 
Mexico. The sudden rising of the party on the Sacramento under the Bear 
Flag, taking Califoruians' property to a large amount, and other acts com- 
pletely frustrated all hopes I liad of the friendship of the natives to my coun- 
trymen, and of Gen. Castro through fear of his people, to come into the ar- 
rangements I expected. On the arrival of the war squadron this came to my 
knowledge more and more fully. ' Quoted from original in tlie S. F. Alta Cal. , 
July 7, 1867. And on June 30, 1847, he wrote to the same efiect. ' The Bear 
Flag party have broken all friendship and good feeling in Cal. toward our 
government.' Larkiii's Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 118. The Aaews of Larkin, 
Steams, and others on this matter have been more fully cited in an earlier 
chapter. Leese, Dear Flag Revolt, MS., p. 12, says that Castro, when at So- 
noma a few days before the outbreak, said he was in favor of the U. S. taking 
iwssession. Alfred Robinson, Statement, MS., 21, tells us that the Bear 
movement greatly imbittered the hostile feeling aroused by Fremont's pre- 
vious actions. Capt. Folsom on Nov. 30, 1847, wrote that ' well disposed 
Califomians were driven into hostility by the ill-advised, injudicious, and dis- 
honest conduct of our own agents, and that the country has been constantly 
agitated and much of the time in open hostility to the American cause in con- 
sequence.' VallejOy Doc, MS., xii. 321. I might multiply evidence in the 
sliape of such opinions. The Califomians almost without exception express 
the same views, sometimes in most extravagant language. 


cooperation of Vallejo and other influential citizens 
and officials would have been able so far to control 
their countrymen as to prevent armed resistance, at 
least there can be no possible doubt that the revolt 
did materially intensify the hostility of the natives, 
and thus prolong the struggle. 

We must go yet further, and besides the evils enu- 
merated which were caused by the outbreak, we must 
hold the participators in that affair responsible for 
other and far more serious evils that were averted, not 
by their foresight, but by sheer good luck. Fremont 
and his companions had, it is true, reasons to believe 
that war would be declared between the United States 
and Mexico ; but they had no means of knowing the 
date at which hostilities would begin; and some of 
them did not reckon on or care for the declaration of 
war at all. Let the reader consider what would have 
been the result had war not been declared, or had the 
declaration been made some months later. The fili- 
busters had no understanding with foreign settlers 
south of the bay. They would have maintained their 
position in the north, and would probably have con- 
quered central California; but meanwhile Americans 
in the latter region must unquestionably have suffered 
at the hands of the angry natives before they could 
have organized and joined the insurgents at some cen- 
tral point. In the south yet greater disaster could 
have been avoided only — as it very likely would have 
been — by southern foreigners joining the Californians, 
temporarily at least, against the insurgents. In any 
event, and whatever the ultimate result, the country 
would have been devastated by a guerilla warfare in 
which a large amount of property must have been de- 
stroyed, and much blood have been shed, all to no 
purpose.^ Fortunately, and no thanks to the insur- 

' It should be stated here that there are some exceptions among the writers 
who have approved the revolt of June 1846, and treated it as a part of the 
conquest. Notably John S. Hittell, both as editor of the Alta California, 
June 15, 1866, July 7, 1867, and in his History ofS. F., 102-3, has expressed 
briefly but accurately the true nature of the movement. Some participants, 


gents, these results were averted, and the insurrection 
was nipped in the bud by the action of the United 

like Baldridge, Dct;/s of '46, MS., 18-20, disapprove the action, and say they 
only joined in it as a choice of evils. The general tenor of John Bidwell's 
views, Cal. IS4I-S, MS., is against the revolt. Lieut Wise, Los Gringos, 42, 
denounces the operations of the lilibusters in language much too severe. Dun- 
Ijar, h'omance, 34-(3, points out the evil effects of the outbreak. During the 
political campaign of 1856 much was said against the Bear Flag leadei-s; but 
chiefly fi-om a spirit of opposition to Fremont, rather than from any proper 
understanding of the merits of the case. Of those who have eulogized the 
insurgents as heroes in books and newspapers, a long list might be presented. 

Just as this volume goes to press there aj^pears Royce's California, 1846- 
56,'"an admirable work of the 'American Commonwealths' series, a long chapter 
of which, on ' The American as conqueror; the secret mission and the Bear 
Flag, ' is devoted to an elaborate study of certain topics here treated. I am 
pleased that the conclusions of so able a thinker and writer as Dr Royce — 
founded to some extent on original evidence in my Library, for the use of 
which the author makes most hearty and satisfactory acknowledgment — do 
not <liflFer materially from my own. Xew data obtained by Royce include a 
statement from Fremont, which throws light, if not on the general's acts of 
1846, on his character as a witness, and shows that I had taken too favorable 
a view of his veracity, since he now affirms what he had before wisely left to 
be inferred. It seems proper to state that this volume as now given to the 
public was in stereotype before the date of Royce's investigations in my 

Another book appearing too late for present use is the History of Cal- 
ifornia by Theodore II. Ilittell. Here I can only note the existence of this work, 
remarking that it contains nothing to modify any view or record of this or 
earlier volumes, and expressing a hope that it may prove helpful in later in- 
vestigations, as I shall have occasion to cite both TJoyce and Hittell in vol- 
umes vi. and vii. 



June, 1846. 

Fri&mont's Return from Oregon — Hensley's Mission — A Summons to 
Revolt — Fr^imont Cautious — All Ready — Camp Moved to Bear 
River— Castro at Santa Clara — His Visit to Sonoma — Arce's Ca- 

URE OF Horses on the Cosumnes — The Filibusters Reenforced in 
Napa Valley — Names — Occupation of Sonoma — Vallejo a Prisoner 
OF War — Negotiations — Written Guaranties — Broken before the 
Ink was Dry — Incidents of the Morning — The Insurgents Unman- 
ageable — Aguardiente — A Controversy — John Grigsby Declines 
the Command — William B. Ide Chosen — Journey of the Prisoners 
TO Fremont's Camp — Locked up in Sutter's Fort. 

It was on May 24th that Fremont and party, re- 
turning from the Oregon frontier, reached the region 
of Lassen's rancho in the upper Sacramento Valley. 
In a letter to Benton written on that date he an- 
nounced his intention to proceed directly homeward 
by way of the Colorado, giving a brief account of his 
trip northward and return.^ At the same time Gil- 
lespie wrote to Larkin, narrating his experience since 
leaving Monterey, asking for news, especially about 
the men-of-war, enclosing a note for the commodore, 
if there, but to be carefully locked up if not, announc- 
ing that Fremont would now proceed homeward, and 
that the writer w^ould at once start for Yerba Buena 
in quest of supplies.^ The letters were intrusted to 

'May 24, 1846, F. to B. Niles' Beg., Ixxi. 19L 

2 May 24, 1846, G. to L. Larkin' s' Doc, MS., iv. 134. F. and G. were at 
Lassen's; the rest were 15 miles above. 

( lOll 


Samuel Neal, who hastened down the valley.^ The 
explorers camped at Lassen's two days, and one day 
at the farm of Neal and Dutton on Deer Creek, thence 
moving down to the Buttes. Before they reached 
that point Gillespie left the party, reached Sutter's on 
the 30th, and went down to San Francisco on the 
launch, arriving on June 7th, and obtaining from Cap- 
tain Montgomery of the Portsmouth a boat-load of 
supplies, with which he reached New Helvetia a week 
later, accompanied by several naval officers.* Before 
his return some startling events had happened. 

It is not to be believed that Fremont had any in- 
tention of proceeding immediately homeward, as an- 
nounced in the letters cited. It is reasonably certain 
that revolutionary plans had already been developed 
to some extent by him and his associate, though it is 
of course impossible, as it is comparatively unimpor- 
tant, to fix the exact stage of development at this 
time. The instructions from Washington which had 
chiefly caused his return from the north would not 
})ermit him now to go east. Gillespie had told him 
( )n the frontier not only of the impending war, but of 
the growing revolutionar}'- spirit among the settlers. 
On his first arrival at the ranches he found abundant 
evidence of discontent. The Indians were said to be 
on the war-path at Castro's instigation; and Fre- 
mont was asked to join in a raid upon the foe. He 
declined, though offering protection to the settlers.^ 
It is to be presumed that he had already considered 

' Neal reached Sutter's May 2oth, and went on, but came back next day on 
account of high water, starting again on the 27th Tia Sonoma. New Helvetia 
y^iary, MS., 49. 

* G. 's testimony, in Fremont's Cal. Claims, 26-7; New Helvetia Diary , MS. , 
."K). June 7th, G. to L. Larldn's Doc, MS., iv. 144. He arrived at Sutter's 
June 12th, and was joined by Frdmont on the American Fork next day. 
Lieut Hunter, Purser Watmough, and Asst Surgeon Duvall accompanied him 
in the ship's launch. 

* Gillespie's testimony, in Fr6mont\s Cal. Claims, 26, 29. Upham, Life of 
Fremont, 231-2, tells us that his hero did march against 600 of the savages, 
routing them, dispersing five villages, and breaking up the great combination 
against the settlers! June 1st, Sutter writes to Vallejo that Fremont has ar- 
rived above, and will probably await on the American River orders per the 
Congress. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 220. 


the project, which at any rate he soon fully adopted, 
of promoting a revolt of the settlers, whose pretext 
should be imminent danger of an attack from the Cal- 
ifornians, and in whose behalf he would interfere on 
pretext of protecting Americans as soon as such inter- 
ference should be either politic or necessary. 

There was a strong element among the settlers, as 
already explained, ready and eager to meet the fili- 
buster more than half-way. The news that Fremont 
was returning fanned into new life the fire that had 
hardly smouldered. At every hunter's camp the 
topic was discussed; at every rancho a political junta 
of neighbors and rovers was in daily session. The 
revolutionists recognized their opportunity to prevail 
over what had been a somewhat unmanageable mi- 
nority. The old rumors of Castro's hostile prepara- 
tions were revived, and new ones invented ; new ap- 
peals to American patriotism were made; men were 
urged from love of life, of family, of liberty, from am- 
bition, from greed of gain, from whatever motive was 
likely to be most potent with each, to shake off the 
tyrant's yoke. Especially was Fremont's return pre- 
sented as a significant and auspicious circumstance. 
He would not return at all, it was urged, were not 
an outbreak of hostilities from some cause expected. 
The settlers' attention was thus turned with anxiety 
toward the explorer. From all directions delegations 
were sent to learn his purposes, and soon the roving 
population of the valley had established itself in con- 
siderable numbers near the camp at the Buttes. 

It took but a few days for the settlers to convince 
themselves that Frdmont desired a revolt, and would 
join it eventually should the necessity arise, though 
he would not openly take an active part in beginning 
it. Naturally we know but little of the many inter- 
views in respect of persons, dates, and other details. 
Two or three are however on record. We know the 
results; and it is evident that only to a few did Fre- 
mont make definite promises, others receiving them 


at second-hand through trusty agents sent out by the 
few. Samuel J. Hensley, during a trip to the bay, 
had learned from Vallejo and others some facts and 
more rumors respecting the junta at Monterey, the 
project of an appeal to England, Castro's prepara- 
tions at Santa Clara, and points of the general situa- 
tion. Returning, he arrived at New Helvetia May 
28th. From Sutter he learned that the Indians were 
threatening serious trouble; and a chieftain was con- 
veniently found to testify that the savages were act- 
inof at the instig^ation of Castro. On June 3d, Sutter 
started on a campaign against the Indians; while 
Hensley on the 4th hastened up the valley to make 
Fremont acquainted with the impending dangers. At 
about the same time Neal returned from below with 
opportune confirmation of alarming rumors. It was 
on the 6th that Fremont, after consultation with Hens- 
ley, decided on the course to be pursued; and two 
days later Hensley and Neal returned to Sutter's, from 
that point sending out trusty agents to summon the 
settlers in all parts of the district.^ If we may credit 
Ide, a written summons was circulated in Fremont's 
name, though not signed by him. Ide and others 
made haste to obey the summons, which they received 
on the 8th; but, not being filibusters of a radical 
type, were much troubled that Fremont's plan, so 
far as he would condescend to make it known to them, 
was not one of independence, but rather one to pro- 
voke Castro to begin hostilities through outrages to 
be committed by persons who had nothing to risk 
either of property or reputation." This was on the 
10th; and before that Kelsey, Hargrave, Swift, and 
others had come as representatives of the Napa Val- 
ley settlers, they like Ide not being able to obtain 
from Fremont any definite promise of aid.^ All was 

^ Hensley's testimony, in Fremont's Cal. Claims, .3:M ; Frdniout to Benton. 
N'de»' Refj., Ixxi. 191. The dates are fixed and confirmed by the New Helve- 
tia Diary, MS., 49-51; and also to some extent by Suttfys Diary, 7-8, where 
the campaign against the Moquelumnes is described. 

^ Ide's Bioif. Sketch, 111-19. 

" Ilurgrave'ti Cal. in '40, MS., 4-11; Foider's Bear Party, 2. 



ready, however; the train was laid; new occurrences 
were exceptionally favorable; and steps had already 
been taken to apply the match. On the 10th the 
tirst act of hostility was committed. About the same 
time Fremont moved his camp from the Buttes to 
the Feather River, and then down to Bear River, 
near its junction with the Feather. 

General Castro was striving to organize at Santa 
Clara, under the immediate command of Jose Anto- 
nio Carrillo, a force of militia with which ostensibly 
to resist the invasion threatened by the United States, 
and especially to resist Fremont, whose return could 
be interpreted only as a threat. Castro had really 
some fear of Fremont, though probably no hope of 
defeating him; but his chief purpose was to resist 
Governor Pico, who was believed to be preparing for 
a march northward. Not much can be known of the 
general's success; but though funds were scarce, and 
public sentiment not enthusiastically patriotic, he 
doubtless raised about a hundred men, whom he had 
great difficulty in keeping together, arming, and mount- 
ing. At the beginning of June he made a trip to 
San Rafael and Sonoma in quest of supplies, and to 
consult with Colonel Vallejo. Victor Castro was di- 
rected to be ready with his boat on the 5th, to bring 
back the general, with such munitions as he might ob- 
tain.^ Respecting the nature and success of Castro's 
demands upon Yallejo, we know only that he obtained 
from the latter and through his influence about 170 

'June 6, 1846, Alcalde Pachecoof San Jos6 to Prefect Castro, mentioning 
the general's departure and instructions to Victor Castro. It was also 
expected that Vallejo might come over on the boat. The writer speaks of 
the campaign of Sutter, 'now allied with Castro' against the hostile 
Moquelumnes. He alludes to troubles between citizens and civil authorities 
on one side aud the military officers on the other, displays considerable bitter- 
ness, implies that Castro's preparations are really to overthrow the civil 
authority, and urges the prefect to warn the govt. Doc. Hist. Gal., MS., iii. 
251-2. The spirit of this letter shows where the filibusters obtained some 
of their reports of Castro's instigating the Indians, etc. Lancey, Cruise 
of the ^ Dcde,^ 49, says that the general went by way of Yerba Buena, and was 
absent four days, which is likely accurate, though no authority is given. 


horses, belonging part to the mission Indians of San 
Rafael and part to private citizens.^^ Francisco Arce, 
the general's secretary, and also a militia lieutenant, 
had crossed the bay with Castro, and was now sent 
with Lieutenant Jos6 Maria Alviso and an escort of 
eight men to conduct the horses by the Sacramento 
to Santa Clara." Crossing the river at William 
Knight's place, now known as Knight Landing, the 
party arrived at the fort June 8th, and next day con- 
tinued their journey, camping for the night at Mur- 
phy's rancho on the Cosumnes/^ 

The approach of Alviso and Arce from Sonoma was 
made the foundation of the rumor, said to have been 
brought by an Indian, that Castro's force was advanc- 
ing up the valley, destroying the crops and committing 
other outrages. It has also been said, and it is not 
impossible the statement was remotely founded on 
fact, that Arce told Knight or his wife at the crossing 
that the horses were to be used by Castro for a cam- 
paign by which the settlers were to be driven out, 
after which a fort was to be established to prevent the 
entrance of any more immigrants by the Bear River 
pass. This report was carried by Knight in all haste 
to Fremont's camp. ^^ It may be that Don Francisco, 

^° Vallejo, Hist. Cal., MS., v. 110-11, says that the horses were 200 belong- 
ing to the govt and 100 to the mission of San Rafael; and that all were being 
pastured by Castro's orders on the Cosumne River. This, though confirmed 
by Alvarado, Hist. Cal., MS., v. 156-9, and Fernandez, Cosas de Cal., MS., 
130-1, is not accurate. 

'' By an official report of Gen. Carrillo it appears that Alviso was really in 
command, Arce having been detailed to assist him. Arce in his report also 
named Alviso as in command. Arce's statement of the number of the escort 
agrees with the entries in the diaries kept at Sutter's, and is doubtless correct, 
though the force has often been represented as much larger by those who 
wished to magnify the exploit of the insurgents. Jo86 Noriega, Bias Alviso, 
and Bias Pina were of the number. 

"iV^. Helvetia, Diary, MS., 51; Sutter's Diary, 8; Arce, Mem., MS., 52-4. 
Tlie river is also called Tahualmes and Macasomy. Sutter, Personal Remin., 
MS., 138, etc., implies that a few horses were added to the band at his place. 

*' This version seems to rest on the authority of Semple. It first appeared 
in the Monterey Calif ornian , Aug. 29, 1846, and subsequently with slight va- 
riations in the Hesperian, iii. 387-8; First Steamship Pioneers, 171-3; Bryant's 
What I Saw in Cal., 287-8; S. F. Alia Cal., Aug. 2, 1866; Lancey's Cruise, 
49-50, etc. Semple was in a sense an excellent authority, but he was also a 
prominent conspirator, and one of those who knew well that the settlers were 
in no danger. Ford, Boar Flag, MS., 4-5, gives a confused version to the 


a somewhat talkative young man, did make some 
foolish and boasting remarks as represented; but it is 
more likely that the story was invented for effect, as 
other similar ones are known to have been. At any 
rate, the opportunity was too good a one to be lost by 
the filibusters. In the forenoon of the 9th, eleven or 
twelve started in pursuit of Aroe from the vicinity of 
Fremont's camp. Hensley states that they were sent 
by Fremont;^* and there can be no doubt that the 
movement was instigated and planned by that officer. 
It was during the absence of this party that Ide had 
an interview with Fremont, as already narrated, the 
latter urging the importance of a raid on Castro's 
horses, and King being anxious to know what the set- 
tlers would do if the horses were taken. ^^ It was also 
at this time that the camp was moved to Bear Kiver. 
Ezekiel Merritt commanded the pursuing party, the 
exact composition of which is not known. Semple 
seems to have been a member, as probably were Gran- 
ville P. Swift and Henry L. Ford, and possibly one 
or two of Fremont's men. Most w^ere of the roving 
immigrants and hunters who had been for a week as- 
sembling near the Buttes, men of the class described 
by Fremont as having nothing to risk.^^ 

Merritt and his men were joined by two others at 
Hock farm. They crossed the American River at 
dusk, supped at the rancho of Allen Montgomery, 
who with another joined the force. They encamped 
at night within two or three miles of where the Cali- 

same general effect, representing that Arce made his boasts while on the way 
to Sonoma after the horses, and that Knight was a spy sent out by Fremont. 

^* Hensley's testimony in FHmonVs Gal. Claims, 33. Fremont himself says 
'they were surprised by a party from my camp.' Letter to Benton. Niks' 
Reg., Ixxi. 191. 

^'•"Ide'sBiog. Sketch, \\\-\Q. 

i^Bidwell, Cal, 1841-8, MS., 161-4, who was at Sutter's at the time, 
thinks there were no permanent settlers in the party, but chiefly hunters 
whom Fremont sent out, using Arce's expedition as a pretext for a beginning 
of hostilities. Martin, Narr., MS., 21-2, says Frdrnont called for volunteer-s 
among his own men, of whom the writer was one, and that 15 started under 
Swift; but Martin is not good authority. Baldridge, Days of '46, MS., 27, 
also names Swift. One account names Neal and Knight as members of the 


forniaiis were camped, guarding their horses in Mur- 
phy's corral/' At early dawn on the 1 0th, they sur- 
prised Arce and his companions, requiring them to 
give u}) their arms, which of course was done without 
resistance.^^ Subsequently, however, after a certain 
amount of threatening bluster from Merritt and his 
fellow-filibusters, the arms were restored, with a horse 
for each man, and also a few horses claimed as private 
property by Alviso, who concealed his real position as 
leader of the party; and the prisoners were dismissed 
with a messacje that if Castro wanted his horses he 
miglit come and take them, and with the announce- 
ment of a purpose to take Sonoma and New Helve- 
tia, and to continue the war/-' 

The filibusters returned with the captured horses 
by the same route they had come, slept that night at 
Nicholas Allgeier's rancho, and reached Fremont's 
new camp in the forenoon of the 11th, after an ab- 
sence of forty-eight hours. Arce and his men made 
haste to San Jose and reported their mishap to Car- 

^^Ford, Bear Flag, MS., 6-7, gives the most complete description of the 
expedition. See also Lance.y's Cruise, 56. 

^^Frc^'inont in his letter to Benton, Niles' Reg., Ixxi. 291, gave the date in- 
correctly as June 11th, and the error was repeated in Sec. 5larcy's report of 
Dec. 5th — 29th cong. 2d sess., H. Ex. Doc. no. 4, p. 51, and from this source 
in Smucker^s Life of Fremont, 28; Cvtts^ Conq., 152-.3; and many other ac- 
counts. Most Mriters have taken pride in representing the number of Mer- 
ritt's men as 12 and of Arce's party as larger. Larkin's letters make the 
force 12 on each side. Semple spoke of 18 prisoners, and Ford of 2.3! Some 
miscellaneous i-eferences on the capture of Arce's horses are: TuthiWs Hint. 
Cal., 169-70; JIU. Bear Flag Revo/.; Pina, Narr., MS., 3-5; Ti/ikham's HLit. 
^Stockton, 89; Willey's 30 Years, 9; Mendocino Co. Hist., 60; Marshall's State- 
ment, MS., 1-2; Belden's Hist. Statement, MS., 43; Honolulu, Friend, iv. 169; 
Sta Cruz Sentinel, June 12, 1869. 

'" The announcement of a purpose to take Sonoma is proved by the fact 
tliat it was announced in the official reports before Sonoma was taken. Arce, 
Memoricts, MS., 52-4, says it was at first the intention to kill him and his 
companions, and that they were saved only by the intercession of Murphy 
and his wife. Of course there was no intention of killing them; but Merritt 
was a rough man, who may have tried to make them think so. In one of Lar- 
kin's letters, Larkin's Off. Curresp., MS., i. 131, the story was told as a report 
that on Arce's complaining that he had been taken by surprise, Merritt pro- 
posed to repeat the operation, the Californians armed and mounted to choose 
their distance and give a signal for the attack ! This has been often repeated, 
and may or may not have liad some foundation in fact. Noriega, one of 
Arce's m«i, disappeared after the alFair, as appears from corresp. of the time; 
and he turned up at Sutter's 9 days later, coming from Murphy's. N. Ifel- 
I'efia Diary, MS., 52. 


rillo and Castro, who in their correspondence repre- 
sented the affair in its true Hght, as an outrage com- 
mitted by a band of irresponsible highwaymen at the 
instigation of Fremont. They regarded it as the pre- 
cursor of invasion, and made an earnest appeal to the 
prefect, as representing the civil authority, to forget 
all past dissensions, and join the military in the coun- 
try's defence. Consul Larkin volunteered his assist- 
ance in recovering the stolen animals, or punishing 
the offenders, if any feasible method of action could 
be pointed out.' 


Merritt and his party had announced at the Co- 
sumnes their plan to take Sonoma. Such a plan may 
or may not have been definitely formed before they 
had started in pursuit of Arce; but if not, it was 
formed immediately on their return to camp on the 
11th. It was manifestly important, having once be- 
gun hostilities, to leave the Californians no rallying- 
point north of the bay. Without delay the company 
was increased to twenty men, and, still under Ezekiel 
Merritt's leadership, left Fremont's camp on Bear 
Creek in the afternoon of the same day. Crossing 
the Sacramento probably at Knight's, supping at Gor- 
don's on Cache Creek, and crossing the hills by night, 

-"June 13th, Arce to Mayor Gen, Carrillo, and Carrillo to Gen. Castro by 
a * violento extraordinario,' forwarded the same day from ' El Rio ' to Prefect 
Manuel Castro. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 103, 105. June 13th, Sub-prefect 
Guerrero at Yerba Buena to prefect. Id., ii. 112. Same to juez of S. Josd. 
S. Jos6, Arch., Loose Papers, MS., 24. Same date, Carrillo to S. Jos6 al- 
calde. Id., 51. All agree that the filibusters claimed to be acting under 
Frdmont's orders, and threatened to continue their depredations. Lancey, 
Cr.uise, 49, tells us that Gen. Castro received the news on June 12th, on the 
Salinas River, hastening back to Monterey and dictating a letter — as he could 
only paint his signature!— the same day to Manuel Castro calling for aid. 
June 14th, Larkin to Gen. Castro, original in Arce, Doc, MS., 13. June 
14th, L. to Manuel Castro, original in Doc. Hist. Col., MS., iii. 257; copies 
LarkhiH Off. Corresp., MS., i. 113; Sawyer's Doc, MS., 49. June 15th, Al- 
calde Pacheco to prefect. Has seen one MacGuins6 (McKenzie ?), who was 
with Arce, and says that none of the filibusters belonged to Fremont's party. 
He recognized only Merritt, and says that they claimed to fear that Castro 
intended to use the horses to drive the settlers away. Noriega has not been 
heard of. Doc Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 259. Larkin gave a brief account of the 
affair in letters to the sec. state on June 18th, 24th, and in a 'circular to 
several Americans 'on July 8th. Larkin'-s Off. Corresp., MS., i. 131; ii. 05; 
Sawyer's Doc, MS., 55. 


they arrived in Napa Valley in the forenoon of the 
12th. They remained there two days, and their num- 
ber was increased to 32 or 33, whose names, so far as 
they can be known, for no list has ever been made 
until now, are appended in a note.^^ About midnight 
they started again over the range of hills separating 
the valleys ; and just before dawn on Sunday, June 
14th, were at the town of Sonoma.^^ 

2iEzekiel Merritt, Wm B. Ide, John Grigsby, Robert Semple, H. L. 
Ford, Wm Todd, Wm Fallon, Wm Knight, Wm Hargrave, Sam. Kelsey, G. 
P. Swift, Sam. Gibson, W. W. Scott, Benj. Devvell, Thos Cowie, Wm li. 
Elliott, Thos Knight, Horace Sanders, Henry Booker, Dav. Hudson, John 
Sears, and most of the following: J. H. Kelly, C. C. Gritfith, Harvey Por- 
terfield, John Scott, Ira Stebbins, Marion Wise, Ferguson, Peter Storm, Pat. 
McChristian, Bartlett Vines, Fowler, John Gibbs, Ajidrew Kelsey, and Benj. 

22 There is no doubt about the date of arrival at Sonoma; but there is a 
possibility that they did not leave Bear Creek until the 12th. Lancey, Cruise, 
5G, etc., takes that view of it. Ford, Bear Flag, MS., 7-10, says they started 
at 3 P. M. on the 10th, which, like all those given by this writer, is an impos- 
sible date. Ide, Biog. Sketch, 120, etc., says it was at sunrise on the 11th, 
which is equally impossible. These two authorities, however, are the best 
extant on details of the march; and as they seem to agree that one whole night 
M as spent in Napa Valley, I have little doubt that the start was at 3 p. m. of 
the 11th. This is partially confirmed by the statement of Baldridge, Days of 
'40, MS., 21, etc., 85-8, that Grigsby and EUiott made a tour through the 
valley to enlist the settlers the day before the attack was to be made. Yet 
Semple, Hesperian, iii. 388-9, gave the date of starting as the 12th. The 
date of taking Sonoma was incorrectly given by Fremont as the 15th, Letter 
to Benton in Niles' Beg., Ixxi. 191; and the error has been often repeated. 
Newspaper discussions on this date in recent years will have to be noticed 
presently in another connection; they have been further complicated by Ford's 
error in making tlie date of the capture June 12th. 

There is also a discrepancy about the composition of the party. Ide says 
13 men left the Sacramento, and were increased to 32 in Napa Valley, though 
he implies later that tlie whole number was 34. Ford makes the number 20 
at first, increased to 33 at Napa. Most authorities content themselves with 
stating that there were 33 men at last. The West Shore Oazeteer, Yolo Co., 
12-13, followed by Lancey, says that 12 men out on an Indian expedition witli 
Armijo, a Mexican, learned at Gordon's of Merritt's movement, and marched 
en masse to join him. It is noticeable that these 12 men added to Ford's 20 
make up Ide's total of 32. There is no agreement respecting the place of 
rende2rv'ou8 in Napa Valley. Grigsby's, Kelsey's, and 'Major Barnard's' are 

Baldridge, Days of '46, MS., 5, says that while Merritt was nominally the 
leader, Grigsby had entire control of the aflair. Sutter, Pers. Bemin., MS., 
147-50, says the 'band of robbers' were Frdmont's men, implying that the 
captain went with them, and that some of Sutter's workmen and Indians 
went along. He confounds this with later events. Martin, Narr., MS., 24, 
tells us that Fremont's men were disbanded, and immediately volunteered to 
take Sonoma under command of Swift! Pat. McChristian, Narr., MS., 1-5, 
claims that the company was organized according to previous notice, in the 
hills near Salvador Vallejo's rancho. Boggs, Napa Begisier, April 6, 1872, 
copies an order sent in advance as follows: 'Mr. Geo. Yount: please deliver 
to the Republic of California 1,000 bbls of flour— signed Wm B. Ide, gover- 

AT SONOMA, JUNE 14th. Ill 

111 narratives of the time, and later, it was custom- 
ary to magnify the exploit of June 14th, by speaking 
of Sonoma as a Californian stronghold, a fort, a garri- 
soned town, taken by surprise, or even by a "gallant 
charge" without shedding of blood, so skilfully was 
the movement planned. There was, however, no gar- 
rison at Sonoma. The soldiers formerly in service 
there had been discharged some years before, during 
the Micheltorena troubles. Some of the citizens even 
were absent from the town, and there was no thought 
of even posting a sentinel. It is true, there remained 
as relics of the old military regime nine small cannon, 
a few of them still mounted, and over 200 muskets in 
the cuartel, with a small quantity of ammunition. All 
was technically public property, though in reality be- 
longing to Colonel Vallejo, who had not seen fit to 
deliver it to the o^eneral on his late visit. Two men 
residing there held commissions in the Mexican army; 
otherwise, a more peaceful burg than this stronghold 
of the Frontera del Norte on that Sunday morning 
it would be difficult to find. 

At daybreak Vallejo was aroused by a noise, and 
on looking out saw that his house was surrounded by 
armed men. This state of things was sufficiently alarm- 
ing in itself, and all the more so by reason of the un- 
couth and even ferocious aspect of the strangers. Says 
Semple: " Almost thewhole party was dressed in leather 
hunting-shirts, many of them very greasy; taking the 

nor;' and gravely tells us that the flour was delivered! Of course this is pure 
invention. The same writer says that on reaching the Sonoma Valley, a 
Californian was found encamped, and was arrested to prevent his giving an 
alarm. The wheels of this man's cart stood for years unmoved, marking the 
spot. Ide, Biog. Sketch, 120-1, informs us that Gordon and ' Major Barnard,' 
at whose places they stopped, were liberal with their hospitality, but not will- 
ing to join the party. At Napa, 11 p. m., on the 13th, * sleep and drowsiness 
were on the point of delaying if not defeating our enterprise.' Ford and 
Lancey speak of an address by Semple before the departure from Napa, John 
Fowler, Wm Baldridge, T. W. Bradley, and others, according to their own 
statements, did not immediately join the company, which was regarded as 
amply strong. Thos Knight, Earl]/ Events, MS., 7-11, speaks, like Boggs, 
of the arrest of a native before reaching the town. Ide says the captain of 
the guard was arrested a little way out, perhaps referring to the same occur- 


whole party together, they were about as rough a look- 
ing set of men as one could well imagine. It is not 
to be w^ondered at that any one would feel some 
dread in falling into their hands." And Yallejo him- 
self declares that there was by no means such a uni- 
formity of dress as a greasy hunting-shirt for each man 
would imply. "^ Yallejo's wife was even more alarmed 
than her husband, whom she begged to escape by a 
back door, but who, deeming such a course undigni- 
fied as well as impracticable, hastily dressed, ordered 
the front door opened, and met the intruders as they 
entered his sala, demanding who was their chief and 
what their business. Not much progress in explana- 
tion was made at first, though it soon became apparent 
that the colonel, while he was to consider himself a 
prisoner, was not in danger of any personal violence. 
Lieutenant-colonel Prudon and Captain Salvador Va- 
llejo entered the room a few minutes later, attracted b}- 
the noise, or possibly were arrested at their houses 
and brought there ; at any rate, they w^ere put under 
arrest like the colonel. Jacob P. Leese w^as sent for 
to serve as interpreter, after which mutual explanations 
progressed more favorably. 

Early in the ensuing negotiations between prisoners 
and filibusters, it became apparent that the latter had 
neither acknowledged leader nor regular plan of opera- 
tions beyond the seizure of government property and 
of the officers. Some were acting, as in the capture 
of Arce's horses, merely wdth a view to obtain arms, 
animals, and hostages — to bring about hostilities, and 
at the same time to deprive the foe of his resources; 
others believed themselves to have undertaken a rev- 
olution, in which steps to be immediately taken were 
a formal declaration of independence and the election 
of officers, Merritt being regarded rather as a guide 
than captain. All seemed to agree, however, that 
they were acting under Fremont's orders, and this to 

^Semple, in Monterey Cali/ornian, Sept. 5, 1846; Vallejo, Hist. Cal. 
Ill, etc. 



the prisoners was the most assuring feature in the 
case. Vallejo had for some time favored the annexa- 
tion of Cahfornia to the United States. He had ex- 
pected and often predicted a movement to that end. 
There is no foundation for the suspicion that the taking 
of Sonoma and his own capture were planned by him- 
self, in collusion with the filibuster chiefs, with a view 
to evade responsibility; yet it is certain that he had 
little if any objection to an enforced arrest by officers 
of the United States as a means of escaping from the 
delicacy of his position as a Mexican officer. Accord- 
ingly, being assured that the insurgents were acting 
under Fremont, he submitted to arrest, gave up keys 
to public property, and entered upon negotiations witli 
a view to obtain guaranties of protection for non-com- 

The guaranties sought were then drawn up in writ- 
ing and signed by the respective parties. The orig- 
inals of those documents are in my possession, and are 
given in a note.^^ 

^* No. 1. An exact copy, except that as the duplicates do not exactly agree 
in orthography and contractions, I have written each word correctly and in 

'Conste por la presente que, habiendo sido sorprendido por una numerosa 
fuerza armada que me tom6 prisionero y d los gefes y oficiales que estaban de 
gnamicion en esta plaza, de la que se apoder6 la expresada fuerza, habiendo 
la encontrado absolutamente indefensa, tanto yo como los seiiores oficiales que 
suscriben comprometemos nuestra palabra de honor de que estando bajo las 
garantias de prisioneros de guerra no tomaremos ni d favor ni contra la repetida 
fuerza armada de quien hemos recibido la intimacion del momento y un escrito 
firmado que garantiza nuestras vidas familias 6 intereses y las de todo el vecin- 
dario de esta jurisdiccion mientras no hagamos oposicion. Sonoma, Junio 14 
do 1846. M. G. Vallejo, Victor Prudon, Salvador Vallejo.' In English the 
document is as follows: 'Be it known by these presents, that, having been 
surprised by a numerous armed force which took me prisoner, with the chief 
and officers belonging to the garrison of this place that the said force took 
possession of, having found it absolutely defenceless, myself as well as the 
undersigned officers pledge our word of honor that, being under the guaranties 
of prisoners of war, we will not take up arms for or against the said armed 
force, from which we have received the present intimation, and a signed 
writing which guarantees our lives, families, and property, and those of all 
the residents of this jurisdiction, so long as we make no opposition.' 

No. 2. ' We, the undersigned, members of the republican party in Cali- 
fornia, having taken Gen. M. G. Vallejo, Lieut-col. Victor Prudon, and Capt. 
D. Salvidor Vallejo as prisoners, pledge ourselves that in so doing, or in any 
other portion of our actions, we will not disturb private property, molest 
themselves, their families, or the citizens of the town of Zanoma or its vicin- 
ity, our object alone being to prevent their opposition in the progress of the 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 8 


It was naturally to be expected, under the circum- 
stances, that the arrested officers would be released on 
parole. Such was evidently the view taken on both 
sides at first. Ford says there were some who fa- 
vored such a course. Leese, who had the best oppor- 
tunities for understanding the matter, and who gives 
a more detailed account than any other writer, tells us 
that such a decision was reached; and finally, the 
documents which I have presented, Nos 1 and 2 be- 
ing to all intents and purposes regular parole papers, 
leave no doubt upon the subject. But now difficul- 
ties arose, respecting some phases of which there is 
contradictory testimony. 

Thus far only a few of the insurgent leaders had 
entered, or at least remained in the house; and the 
negotiations had in reality been conducted by Semple 
and Leese very much in their own way. Ide testi- 
fies that Merritt, Semple, and Wm Knight, the lat- 
ter accompanying the expedition merely as an inter- 
preter, were the first to enter the house, while the 
rest waited outside; that presently hearing nothing, 
they became impatient, determined to choose a cap- 
tain, and elected John Grigsby, who thereupon went 
in; and that after waiting what appeared an age, the 
men again lost patience and called upon the writer, 

en[ds?] of the liberation'. . . — one or two words perhaps at the end, and the 
signatures, if there were any, are torn off. 

No. 3. 'We, the undersigned, liaving resolved to establish a government 
of on (upon?) republican principles, in connection with others of our fellow- 
citizens, and having taken up arms to support it, we have taken three Mexi- 
can officers as prisoners, Gen. M. G. Vallejo, Lieut-col. Victor Prudon, and 
Capt. D. Salvador Vallejo, having formed and published to the world no reg- 
ular plan of government, feel it our duty to say that it is not our intention 
to take or injure any person who is not found in opposition to the cause, nor 
will we take or destroy the property of private individuals further than is 
necessary for our immediate support. Ezekiel Merritt, R. Semple, William 
Fallon, Samuel Kelsay.' 

These important papers are found in Bear Flag Papers, MS., 19-20, 60-1. 
They were given me by Gen. Vallejo. There are two signed originals of no. 
1, one in the handvyriting of Salvador Vallejo, and the other in that of Victor 
Prudon. In Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 226, is another incomplete and unsigned 
blotter copy, Nos 1 and 3 were printed in Marin Co. Hist. , 68-9, and Sonoma 
Co. Hixt., 100-1, from copies furnished by me to Gen. Vallejo. The English 
document is probably the work of Semple, but possibly of Merritt, as indi- 
cated by spelling and grammar. 


Ide, to go and investigate the causes of delay. Now 
the discrepancies in testimony begin. Ide describes 
the state of things which met his view as follows : 
"The general's generous spirits gave proof of his usual 
hospitality, as the richest wines and brandies sparkled 
in the glasses, and those who had thus unceremoniously 
met soon became merry companions; more especially 
the merry visitors. There sat Dr S., just modifying 
a long string of articles of capitulation. There sat 
Merritt, his head fallen; there sat Knight, no longer 
able to interpret; and there sat the new-made captain, 
as mute as the seat he sat upon. The bottles had 
wellnigh vanquished the captors" !^^ Leese also states 
that brandy was a potent factor in that morning's 
events ; but according to his version, it was on the com- 
pany outside that its influence was exerted, rendering 
them noisy and unmanageable, though an effort had 
been made by his advice to put the liquor out of 
reach.^^ I do not, however, deem it at all likely that 
the leaders drank more than it was customary to drink 
in a Californian's parlor, or more than they could carry ; 
but that some of the rough characters in the company 
became intoxicated we may well believe. 

At any rate, disagreement ensued; the men refused 
entirely to ratify the capitulation made by their former 
leaders, insisting that the prisoners must be sent to the 
Sacramento; some of them w^ere inclined to be insub- 
ordinate and eager for plunder; while the lawless 
spirits were restrained from committing outrages by 
the eloquence of Semple and the voice of the majority; 
yet the leaders could not agree. Captain Grigsby de- 
clined to retain the leadership that had been conferred 
upon him. So William B. Ide was chosen in his stead ; 
and the revolutionists immediately took possession of 
all public property, as well as of such horses and other 
private property as they needed, at the same time lock- 

" He's Biog. Sketch, 123-5. 

"^^ Leese' s Bear Flag Statement, MS., 6-12. Vallejo, Hist. CaL, MS., v. 
113, says that the Canadian Beaulieu gave the men a barrel of aguardiente, 
which caused all the trouble. 


ing up all citizens that could be found. ^' It would seem 
that the second of the documents I have presented 
was torn, and the third drawn up and signed at an 
early stage of the disagreements, after it became ap- 
parent that it might be best to send the prisoners to 
the Sacramento, the signatures showing that it could 
not have been later. Vallejo, though not encouraged 

■•'^ Leese, Bear Flag, MS., 6-12, says that after the capitulations were all 
completed he left the house; but returning half an hour later, he found all in 
confusion; Ide insisted that the prisoners must be sent to Fremont's camp; 
Semple admitted that he could not fully control the men, and said it would 
be better to yield; Fallon and 'English Jim' notified Vallejo that they must 
have 80 horses in half an hour; others insisted on searching Vallejo's house and 
took all the arms and ammunition they could find; and finally they took 60 
horses belonging to the writer, refusing his request to leave two that belonged 
to his children. So great did the excitement become, and so freely were some 
of the men drinking, that the ^vTiter feared personal violence. Leese mentions 
the fact that Merritt, having once been struck by Salvador Vallejo, insisted 
at first on putting him in irons, but was persuaded to forget his private griev- 
ances. This story in a more dramatic form has often been repeated. ' With 
all the keen resentment of a brave man, Mr Merritt suddenly found this man 
in his power, the blood rushed to his cheeks and his eyes sparkled; he leaned 
forward like a mad tiger in the act of springing upon his prey, and in an ener- 
getic and manly tone said: "When I was your prisoner you struck me; now 
you are my prisoner, I will not strike you"' ! is the way Semple tells it in the 
Monterey Colifornian, Sept. 5, 1846. Don Salvador and Merritt were both 
men more likely to quarrel than to select so magnanimous a method of re- 

Another statement of Semple, Id., has been very popular. 'A single 
man cried out, "Let us divide the spoils," but one universal, dark, indignant 
frown made him shrink from the presence of honest men, and from that time 
forward no man dared to hint anything like violating the sanctity of a private 
house, or touching private property; so far did they carry this principle that 
they were unwilling to take the beef which was offered by our prisoner'! 
* Their children in generations yet to come will look back with pleasure upon 
the commencement of a revolution carried on by their fathers upon principles 
high and holy as the laws of eternal justice.' Vallejo, Hist. Cal., MS., v. 
114-15, thinks that it was only by the zealous eflforts of Semple, Grigsby, 
Kelsey, and a few others that indiscriminate plunder was prevented. Many 
Californians talk of plunder and other outrages that never occurred. Ide says, 
Biorj. Sketch, 128: 'Joy lighted up every mind, and in a moment all was 
secured; 18 prisoners, 9 brass cannon, 250 stands of arms, and tons of copper 
shot and other public property, of the value of 10 or 1200 dollars, was seized 
and held in trust for the public benefit.' Baldridge, Days of '46, MS., 5, 43- 
5, who was not one of those who took Sonoma, gives a remark of Prudon, 
' Boys, you have been a little too fast for us, we were going to serve you in the 
same way in just 10 days'! He also quotes Grigsby to the effect that some 
sailors announced their determination to have the money which they knew 
to be in the house, but obeyed Grigsby's order to desist, especially when two 
rifles were levelled at tliem. Martin, Narr., MS., 24-6, gives an absurdly 
incorrect account of the taking of Sonoma, in which he pretends to have 
assisted; talks of 18 loaded cannon with matches burning which faced the 
attacking party! etc. Salvador Vallejo, Notas, MS., 101-17, tells a little 
truth about the affair, mingled, as usual in his testimony, with nnich that is 
too absurdly false to deceive any one. 


at seeing that the leaders were not permitted by their 
followers to keep their promises, was not very much 
displeased at being sent to New Helvetia. He was 
assured that the insurgents were acting by Fremont's 
orders; his own views were known to be favorable to 
the schemes of the United States; and he had no rea- 
son to doubt that on meeting Fremont he and his com- 
panions would at once be released on parole. 

Before the departure of the prisoners and their es- 
cort a formal meeting of the revolutionists was held. 
That Semple, secretary, made a speech counselling 
united action and moderation in the. treatment of the 
natives, and that William B. Ide was chosen captain, 
is all that is known of this meeting,^^ except what we 
may learn from Ide's narrative. The leaders differed 
in their ideas, not onl}^ respecting the disposition to be 
made of the prisoners, but about the chief object of 
the movement. Evidently there had been no defi- 
nitely arranged plan of operations. Fremont had suc- 
ceeded in bringing about a state of open hostility 
without committing himself Some of the men re- 
garded their movement as merely intended to provoke 
Castro to make an attack on Fremont; or at least they 
dreaded the responsibility of engaging in a regular rev- 
olution, especially when it was learned that no one 
could produce any definite promise from Fremont in 
black and white to support such a movement. Others 
were in favor of an immediate declaration of indepen- 
dence. That such differences of opinion did exist as 
Ide states, is in itself by no means improbable; and 
it is confirmed to some extent by the fact that Grigsby 
did resign his leadership, and by the somewhat strange 
circumstance that three such prominent men as 
Grigsby, Merritt, and Semple should have left Sonoma 
to accompany the prisoners. Ide writes that when 
Grigsby heard that no positive orders from Fremont 
could be produced, his "^ fears of doing wrong' over- 

'^' Semple, in Hesperian, iii. 388-9; and in First Steamship Pioneers, 174-5. 
See also Lanceifs Cruise, 57. 


came his patriotism, and he interrupted the speaker by 
saying: 'Gentlemen, I have been deceived; I cannot 
go with you ; I resign and back out of the scrape. I 
can take my family to the mountains as cheap as any 
of you' — and Dr S. at that moment led him into the 
house. Disorder and confusion prevailed. One swore 
he would not stay to guard prisoners; another swore 
we would all have our throats cut; another called for 
fresh horses; and all were on the move, every man for 
himself, when the speaker [Ide] resumed his effort, 
raising his voice louder and more loud, as the men re- 
ceded from the place, saying : 'We need no horses; sad- 
dle no horse for me ; I can go to the Spaniards and make 
freemen of them. I will lay my bones here before I 
will take upon myself the ignominy of commencing an 
honorable work and then flee like cowards, like thieves, 
when no enemy is in sight. In vain will you say you 
had honorable motives. Who will believe it? Flee 
this day, and the longest life cannot wear out your dis- 
grace I Choose ye this day what you will be ! We are 
robbers, or we must be conquerors!' and the speaker 
111 despair turned his back upon his receding compan- 
ions. With new hope they rallied around the despond- 
ing speaker, made him their commander, their chief; 
and his next words commanded the taking of the 
fort." Subsequently "the three leaders of the party 
of the primitive plan of 'neutral conquest' left us alone 
in our glory." I find no reason to doubt that this ver- 
sion, though somewhat highly colored, is in substance 
accurate; that Merritt, having captured horses and 
prisoners, was content to rest on his laurels; that 
Grigsby was timid about assuming the responsibility 
of declaring independence without a positive assur- 
ance of Frdmont's cooperation ; that Semple, while in 
favor of independence, preferred that Sacramento 
should be the centre of operations, unless — what Va- 
llejo and Leese also favored — Frdmont could be in- 
duced to establish his headquarters at Sonoma; or 
finally, that Ide and his associates influenced the ma- 


jority to complete their revolutionary work and take 
no backward steps. I think, however, that Ide and 
all the rest counted confidently on Fremont's support; 
and that Semple and Grigsby were by no means re- 
garded as abandoning the cause when they left So- 

It was about 11a. m., on June 14th, when the three 
prisoners, accompanied by Leese as interpreter at 
their request and that of the captors — not himself a 
prisoner as has been generally stated — and guarded 
by Grigsby, Semple, Merritt, Hargrave, Knight, and 
four or five others, ^^ started on horses from Vallejo's 
herds for the Sacramento. It will be most convenient 
to follow them before proceeding to narrate later de- 
velopments at Sonoma. Before starting, and on the 
way, Vallejo was often questioned by Californians as 
to the situation of affairs; but could only counsel them 
to remain quiet, announcing that he would probably 
return within four or five days. His idea was that 
Fremont, after releasing him and his companions on 
parole, might be induced to establish his headquarters 
at Sonoma, an idea shared by Semple, Grigsby, and 
Leese. Relations between captives and captors were 
altogether friendly, except in the case of some hostile 
feeling among a few individuals against Don Salvador.^^ 

They encamped that night at Vaca's rancho. No 
special pains was taken to guard the prisoners, who 
with Leese slept on a pile of straw near the camp. 
Vallejo had desired to travel all night; but the men 
declined to do so, having had no sleep the night be- 
fore. Before dawn on the morning of the 15th, a 

'■^Lancey names Kit Carson as one of the guard, falling into the error from 
the fact that Carson accompanied Merritt from Fremont's camp to Sutter's 
Fort. There were probably none of Fremont's men in the party that took 
Sonoma. Ide says the guard contained 10 men; Leese says about 12 men. 
Both Ide and Ford state that the force left behind was 24 men, which would 
indicate that the guard numbered 9. 

^° Several writers state, without any foundation in fact, that Don Salvador 
was arrested, not at Sonoma, but at his Napa rancho on the way to Sacra- 


Californian succeeded in reaching the captives, and 
informed Vallejo that a company of his countrymen 
had been organized to effect his rescue, and only 
awaited his orders. The colonel refused to permit 
such an attempt to be made, both because he had no 
reason to fear any unpleasant results from his en- 
forced visit to the Sacramento, and because he feared 
retaliation at Sonoma in case an attempt to escape 
should bring harm to any of the guard. ^^ On the 
15th the party reached Hardy's place on the Sacra- 
mento. Here Merritt left the others, intending to 
visit Fremont's camp and return next morning; but 
as he did not come back, Leese with one companion 
started in the forenoon of the 16th also in quest of 
Fremont. Arriving at Allgeier's place, they learned 
that the captain had moved his camp to American 
River; and starting for that point, they rejoined their 
companions before arrival. Here Grigsby presented 
an order from Fremont for Leese's arrest, for which, 
so far as known, no explanation was given. ^'^ 

Late in the afternoon they reached the camp, and 
the prisoners were brought into the presence of Fre- 
mont. That officer's reception of them was very dif- 
ferent from what had been anticipated. His words 
and manner were reserved and mysterious. He denied, 
when Vallejo demanded for what offence and by what 

^^ Leest's Bear Flag, MS., 8-9. This writer thinks that Vallejo's course 
saved the lives of all the guard, as the surprise would have been complete, 
and there were some desperate characters among the rescuers. Revere, 
7'our of Duty, G5, heard a similar version from a person who was present, and 
that the Californians were under the command of Juan Padilla, who was also 
the messenger. Also Lanceifs Cruise, 57. Vallejo, ITist. CaL, MS., v. 126- 
7, and Cayetano Juarez, Narrative, MS., and in Savage, Doc, MS., i. 39-40, 
tell us that Juarez posted himself at the Portezuela with a small force, send- 
ing his brother disguised as a woman to notify Vallejo of his design to efifect 
a rescue, if permitted. By Boggs, Napa Register, April 6, 1872, we are in- 
formed that GO or 70 of Castro's men sent to drive out the settlers intercepted 
the guard near Higuera's rancho, but were kept off by Vallejo's shouts that 
lie was in danger of l>eing shot if they came nearer! And in the Sacramento 
Record- Union, March 15, 187G, we read of the attempted rescue at Napa, 
which failed by reason of Grigsby's coolness in threatening to shoot the pris- 

"* Leese's account is confirmed by a letter written by Vallejo while in 
prison, to bo noticed later. 


authority he had caused their arrest, that he was in 
any way responsible for what had been done; declared 
that they were prisoners of the people, who had been 
driven to revolt for self-protection; refused to accept 
their paroles; and sent them that same night, under 
a guard composed in part if not wholly of his own 
men — Kit Carson and Merritt being sent in advance — 
to be locked up at Sutter's Fort.^^ 

''Vallejo, Hist. Cal., MS., v. 122-8, thinks that Fremont was not un- 
friendly, but that he dared not oppose the popular feeling of the rough trap- 
pers and settlers. Leese, on the other hand, very angry of course that no 
explanation was given of his own arrest, except that he was 'a bad man,' 
blames Fremont exclusively, describing his words and actions as arbitrary 
and offensive in the extreme. The arrival of Carson and Merritt, and that 
of the prisoners later, are recorded in N. Helvetia Diary ^ MS., 52; Sutter^s 
Diary, 8. 



June-July, 1846. 

Sutter's Position — The Prisoners — Their Treatment — Correspondence 
OF THE Captives — Events at New Helvetia — South of the Bay — 
Rosa Sent by Vallejo to Montgomery — ^Misroon's Mission — Offi- 
cial and Private Correspondence — Castro's Proclamations — Mil- 
itary Preparations — Three Divisions to Retake Sonoma — Torre 
Sent across the Bay — Manuel Castro's Mission — Insurgents at 
San Francisco — Weber's Arrest — Montgomery's Policy — Pico at 
Santa Barbara — The Angelinos not Warlike— Foreigners Of- 
fended — The Assembly — Pico and Larkin — Pico Marches North 
— Meets Castro — Embrace of Governor and General. 

Captain Sutter was still nominally in command at 
the fort. The turn affairs were taking sadly inter- 
fered with his plans of selling the establishment, 
though he was not without hopes that the revolt 
might in one way or another be made to advance his 
personal interests. Had his plans in this respect, and 
especially his recent advice to Castro to garrison the 
fort against Americans, been fully known to the in- 
surgents, he also would have been put under arrest. 
As it was, while he was not fully trusted, neither was 
he much feared. He doubtless gave to Hensley and 
others assurances of secret support, and was there- 
fore excused from active participation, though he was 
closely watched the while. It is well known, being 
also admitted by himself, that his relations with Fre- 
mont were not friendly.^ What understanding had 

^Sutter, Person. liemin., MS., 140-50, in a very inaccurate sketch of these 
times, claims to have been acting in good faith as an ally of the U. S., renounc- 

( 122 ) 


been reached at the time of Carson's arrival or earher 
is not known; but when the prisoners arrived, Sutter 
simply obeyed Fremont's instructions, and they were 
locked up in one of the rooms of the fort, to pass the 
night in not very agreeable meditations on their unfor- 
tunate condition, mingled at times with regret that they 
had not availed themselves of a favorable opportunity 
to escape. Vallejo states further that their room con- 
tained no furniture except some rude benches; that 
no blankets were furnished for that first night; and 
that they were without food or water till 11 A. m. next 
day, when an Indian was sent in with a pot of soup 
and meat which they were free to eat as best they 
could without spoons or dishes. *' Doubtless God had 
decreed," writes the general, ''that June 1846 was 
to be the black month of my life." With a view to 
render all safe, and to guard against the effects of any 
possible sympathy of Sutter for his brother officers, E. 
M. Kern was stationed at New Helvetia with a small 
detachment of Fremont's men to guard the captives.'^ 
Having once opened hostilities, the filibusters are 
not to be blamed for seizing Sonoma or for arresting 
the Mexican officers; and having once arrested them, 
it was perhaps for the best to send them to the Sac- 
ramento ; or at least, it is not strange that the leaders 
could not control their rough associates and were 

iug his allegiance to Mexico by opening his gates to Fremont ! He ad- 
mits that F. acted suspiciously, was 'shy' of him, and had him closely 
watched, the men he finally left at the fort being really spies rather than a 
garrison. He attributes F.'s dislike to the affair of the stolen horses just be- 
fore the capt. went to Oregon. S. claims also to have earnestly disapproved 
the outrage on Vallejo and his companions. Bid well, Cal. in I84I-8, MS., 
164-7, tells us that Sutter had denounced the taking of Arce's horses, which 
greatly displeased Fremont, so that when he came down to the fort he told 
S. that if he did not like what was being done he might go and join the 

'^ About Kern's command at the fort there is not much information ex- 
tant. Possibly he was not stationed there until Fremont started for Sonoma. 
Hensley, however, testimony in Fremont's Cal. Claims, 34, states that it was 
before his own departure for the south, that is, on the 16th; and Leese repre- 
sents that the prisoners were delivered to Kern at first. There are frequent 
references to the fact of his being in command in later correpondence. Sut- 
ter speaks of the garrison of spies left at Fr6mont's departure. The Diaries 
contain no intimation of any other authority than Sutter's. 


forced to break a solemn agreement. But once at 
Sutter's, for Frdmont and his fellow-revolutionists to 
put the captives in prison, and keep them there, dis- 
regarding past pledges, demands for justice, or expla- 
nations, and especially Vallejo's rank and well known 
sympathies and honorable character, as well as Leese's 
nationality, was a gross and inexcusable outrage. It 
was a severe blow to Vallejo's pride, and a most un- 
generous return for his many acts of kindness to 
American settlers, his influence in behalf of annexa- 
tion to the United States, and the ready confidence 
with which, counselling his countrymen against resist- 
ance, he had given his parole, and intrusted himself 
to the protection of a man whom he regarded as an 
officer and a gentleman. 

The Sonoma prisoners remained in confinement at 
New Helvetia until August, being released, under 
circumstances to be noticed later, after the revolution 
was at an end, and the conquest by the United States 
had begun. Josd Noriega and Vicente Peralta, mak- 
ing their appearance at the fort shortly after the out- 
break, were added to the number; and Julio Carrillo, 
Vallejo's brother-in-law, coming later from Sonoma 
under a passport to assure the colonel of his family's 
safety, shared the same fate. Respecting the prison- 
ers' experience and treatment during their confine- 
ment, evidence is meagre and contradictory. I attach 
but little importance to the complaints of later years, 
coming from the prisoners themselves, and exagger- 
ated by their friends, complaints involving gross ill- 
treatment and cruelty; nor on the other hand do I 
credit the statement of Sutter that the captives "were 
placed in my best rooms, and treated with every con- 
sideration; took their meals at my table, and walked 
out with me in the evening; their room was not 
guarded night or day, nor did any guard accompany 
them when they walked." There is no reason, how- 
ever, to doubt that Sutter himself was disposed to 
treat them kindly, or perhaps that he was chided by 


Fremont for his kindness.^ The truth is, that Vallejo 
and his companions were kept in close confinement for 
nearly two months, in rough and inconvenient quar- 
ters. They were fed with coarse food, and were al- 
lowed no communication with friends or families. 
The few letters allowed to pass from the prison were 
closely examined by Fremont's men; not the slightest 
attention was paid to their appeals for justice; and 
they were occasionally insulted by an irresponsible 
guard. This was the sum and substance of their 
grievance, and it was indeed a serious one. Their 
mental sufferings arising from anxiety for family and 
property, as well as from wounded pride, were greater 
than those of the body resulting from hunger or hard 
beds. Vallejo had never been in all respects a popu- 
lar man in California; and now there were not want- 
ing among his countrymen those who expressed a 
degree of satisfaction that the 'autocrat of Sonoma' 

^Sutter's Pers. Remin., MS., 148, etc. He says that after Fremont's first 
complaint, the prisoners were put in charge of Loker, and later of Bidwell, 
who treated them not much less kindly than Sutter himself. He did not 
cease his visits and care for them until warned through Townsend that he 
would be himself arrested. He ignores Kern altogether. In his Diary, 8, he 
says: 'I have treated them with kindness and so good as I could, which was 
reported to Fremont, and he then told me that prisoners ought not to be 
treated so; then I told him if it is not right how I treat them, to give them in 
charge of somebody else.' Revere, Tour of Duty, 74-5, says they were rigor- 
ously guarded, the jailers being suspicious and distrustful, going so far as to 
threaten to shoot Sutter for the crime of being polite. Marshall, Statement, 
MS., 2, who was there at the time, says that Sutter allowed the prisoners to 
walk about on parole, until Fremont threatened to hang him should any es- 
cape. Leese, Bear Flag, MS., 16, says also that Sutter called often to en- 
courage them, until Fremont threatened to hang him if he continued his visits. 
Vallejo, Hist. Cal., MS., iv. 387-91; v. 128-64, 183, 199-200, speaks of 
' Charles,' who was one of the guards at the prison. He had been greatly 
befriended by Salvador Vallejo the year before, but 'gratitude has no place in 
the Missourian heart. ' On one occasion, loaves of bread from Sonoma were 
admitted, each of which had a coin in its centre. 'Blue Jacket,' one of the 
worst of the guards, died soon after of hydrophobia from the bite of a skunk. 
Chas E. Pickett arrived from Oregon during the captivity, and gained Va- 
llejo's life-long friendship by his sympathy and kindness. I have no doubt 
that Vallejo exaggerates the cruelty with which they were treated. His 
charges are general and indeiinite; and those of others are as a rule absurd. 
Salvador Vallejo is somewhat more moderate on this topic than on most 
others. What troubled him most was the coming of the sentinel each day to 
see if the 'damned greasers ' were still safe. Hargrave, Cal. in 1846, MS., 7, 
11, says Vallejo had no cause for complaint, and was very comfortably lodged 
at the fort. Osio, Hist. Cal., MS., 465, says Vallejo was treated as he had 
treated his southern prisoners at Sonoma— that is, very badly. 


was reaping the rewards of long 'coquetting' with the 
Americans. I have some of the letters written by the 
captives, which I cile briefly in a note. To the Cali- 
fornians they wrote that all was well with them, urg- 
ing submission rather than resistance; to others they 
spoke only of their arbitrary and unjust imprisonment, 
demanding release or a specification of the charges 
against them. The absence of complaints of personal 
ill-treatment has perhaps no significance, as such com- 
plaints would not have been allowed to pass. Fur- 
ther correspondence relating to their release will be 
noticed in due time.* 

Before returning to Sonoma, let us glance briefly 
and in chronologic order, first, at events on the Sac- 

* June 28th, Pnidon to Jos6 de la Rosa. He and the rest still held. Does 
not know how long it is to continue. Not allowed to communicate with any 
one. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 228. July 6th, Vallejo to his brother, Jos6 de 
Jesus V. They are not dead as has been reported. Robt Ridley is named 
as one of the prisoners. Their situation is not very bad, but indispensable 
for the new order of things. There is reason to believe there will be an entire 
change founded in justice, which will raise the country from its miserable con- 
dition. Tliey will all be eternally grateful to Sutter for kindness shown. They 
have been solemnly promised that their persons, property, and families shall 
be respected. The writer charges his brother to make all this public. Vallejo, 
Doc, MS., xxxiv. 216. July 6th, W. A. Bartlett, Sonoma, to Vallejo, at 
whose house he and Dr Henderson are. Mrs V. as cheerful as could be ex- 
pected. All hoping for his early return. Id., xii. 229. July 10th, V. to Fr(r>- 
mont, complaining that F. had not come to see him as he promised. Our im- 
prisonment, 'as you know, has been made more severe, with absolute incom- 
munication since June 16th.' Is it to end now that the U. S. flag is flying 
over the fort? — insuring as he hopes a prosperous future for his country. Blot- 
ter in Ikar Flag Papers, MS. July 23d, Prudon to Larkin from the 'Prison 
of the Sacramento,' complaining of an ' unjust, severe, and prolonged imprison- 
ment, ' and asking L. to use his influence for their liberation. 'Our situation 
is most lamentable, and its horrors are augmented by our absolute incommu- 
nication, so that we could not know what was passing outside, or others what 
we were suSering within. I have written a journal, which at the proper time 
will come to light.' They have reoeived Larkin's letter of the 16th; and they 
send a representation for Com. Sloat, who is doubtless not aware of their in- 
iquitous treatment. Larkin, Doc, MS., iv. 221-2. July 23d, Vallejo to Lar- 
kin of same general purport. Cannot understand why they are still detained 
now that he has seen the U. S. flag flying. Alludes to the written guaranties 
given on June 14th, which are still in his possession, and which were violated 
' before the ink of the signatures had time to dry.' Their cattle have been 
driven off during their imprisonment. Spanish, and translation, in LarJcin^s 
Doc , MS., iv. 219, 223. No date (July 23d?), Vallejo to (Sloat?) giving a 
brief and clear narrative of their capture and unjust confinement. This ac- 
count confirmfj Leese's narrative in all essential parts, though less complete. 
The writer puts his wrongs in a very strong light, and cannot believe that 
those wrongs are continued with the knowledge of U. S. officers. Blotter in 
Bear Flag Papers, MS., 63-6. 


ramento, and then at occurrences south of the bay 
during the whole revolutionary period, though some 
of them have been or will be noticed more fully else- 
where. It was on June 10th that Arce's horses were 
taken on the Cosumnes. On the 11th Hensley and 
Reading arrived at the fort from up the river; and 
this afternoon or the next Merritt and his men left 
camp for Sonoma. On the 12th or 13th^ Gillespie 
arrived from Yerba Buena in the Portsmouth' slsinuch., 
accompanied by several officers of the navy, and bring- 
ing a boat-load of supplies for Fremont, proceeding 
with Hensley in the launch to the American River. 
Fremont came down with a part of his force, as Gil- 
lespie states, on the 13th, encamping near the mouth 
of the American; while the main body encamped on 
the 15th, eight or ten miles farther up that stream. 
The captives taken at Sonoma on the 14th reached 
Fremont's camp in the afternoon of the 16th. Car- 
son and Merritt started at once for Sutter's, while 
Hensley and Reading were despatched ostensibly on 
a hunting tour, but really to talk politics with Marsh, 
and learn the situation south of the bay.^ The pris- 
oners were locked up in the fort at nightfall, as we 
have seen. On the 17th, the supplies having been 
delivered, Gillespie and Fremont went up the Amer- 
ican to join the main body, while the Portsmouth's 
launch started for Sauzalito. The supplies in ques- 
tion were furnished by Montgomery, on the requisi- 
tion of Frdmont as an officer of the United States. 
It was on its face a perfectly legitimate transaction; 
and I know of no reason to suppose that Montgomery 
was informed by Gillespie of the revolutionary pro- 
ject on foot.'' This same day, the 17th, three men, 

' In iV. Helvetia Diary, MS., 51, and Sutter's Diary, 8, the latter date is 
given; the former in Gillespie's testimony. Fremont's Cat. Claims, 26-7. 

^The dates, etc., are fixed by the diaries; the motive by Hensley's tes- 
timony. Fremont's CaL Claims, 34. 

' In his letter to Benton, Niks' Beg., Ixxi. 191, Fremont says he wrote 
to Montgomery by the returning launch, 'describing to him fully my position 
and intentions, in order that he might not by supposing me to be acting un- 
der orders from our govt unwittingly commit himself, ' etc. 


Wise, Ferguson, and Stebbins, arrived at the fort 
from Sonoma, presumably with news, as they started 
at once for Fremont's camp. On the 18th a courier 
came from Sonoma with a letter from Captain Mont- 
(^omery. Fremont with twenty men visited the fort 
on the 19th; and Jose Noriega, a Spaniard from San 
Jose, made his appearance and was detained; and 
next day Vicente Peralta, coming back from a visit 
up the river, shared the same fate. It was also on 
the 20th that Hensley and Reading returned from 
below, hastening to Fremont's camp with the report 
that Castro was preparing for a hostile movement, a 
report confirmed by John Neal, who brought news 
that a force was crossing the bay to attack Sonoma. 
It was on or about this date that Julio Carrillo arrived 
and w^as imprisoned. On the 21st Fremont arrived 
near the fort; and next day, leaving a small garrison 
— his company being reenforced by Hensley, Reading, 
and many trappers and settlers — he marched for 
Sonoma.^ On the 23d a party, including Bidwell, 
was sent toward the Cosumnes to learn whether any 
foes were approaching from below, and to make 
arrangements for a watch to be kept by the Indians. 
Friday the 26th was marked by the arrival of Lieu- 
tenant Revere and Dr Henderson of the Portsmouth ^ 
who came up from Sauzalito on the ship's launch;^ 
and also by that of a small party of immigrants from 
Oregon. Next day Henderson departed for Sonoma 
with a small party; on the 28th Lieutenant Bartlett 
and Dr Townsend arrived from Yerba Buena; and 
on the 29th Bartlett started with Bidwell for Sono- 

^ In his letter to Benton, Frdmout, says he broke camp on the American 
Fork on the 23d. This may mean that after leaving Sutter's he camped at 
the mouth of that stream and started next morning for Sonoma. Lancey, 
Cruise, G4, conlirms this, and speaks of Harrison Peirce coming into camp on 
the 23d with news of great alarm at Sonoma. 

^ Revere, Tour of Duty, 6G-75, gives no dates and few details of occur- 
rences from his own observations on this trip. He had an interview with 
Vallejo, ' which it was easy to see excited a very ridiculous amount of sus- 
picion on the' part of his vigilant jailers, whose position, however, as revolu- 
tionists was a little ticklish, and excited in them that distrust wliich in dan- 
f^crous times is inseparable from low and ignorant minds. ' 


ma;^^ while Revere returned down the river by boat. 
It was on July 8th that Robert Ridley was sent up 
from below and was added to the number of prison- 
ers. It was on July 10th, the day of Fremont's 
arrival from Sonoma, that news came of the raising 
of the stars and stripes at Monterey; and next day 
that flag was raised over Sutter's Fort, of which event 
more anon. 

South of the bay, as we have seen, public attention 
was directed mainly on the 13th and 14th of June to 
the taking of Arce's horses; next day came the news 
that Sonoma was in the hands of American insur- 
gents, and that Vallejo with other officers were pris- 
oners. I find four written records of this news, 
bearing date of June 15th. The first is a communi- 
cation from Sub-prefect Guerrero to the prefect. He 
had received the tidings at Yerba Buena verbally 
from Joaquin Carrillo, the second alcalde of Sonoma, 
who had run away when he saw the arrest of Ber- 
reyesa, the first alcalde.^^ The second w^as sent by 
Justice Estudillo at San Leandro to Alcalde Pacheco 
at San Jos6. He obtained his information from Rafael 
F^lix, whom Vallejo had despatched as a messenger 
to his brother Don Jesus, and who had arrived at 11 
p. M.^^ The third record is that of an interview on 
the Portsmouth at Sauzalito between Captain Mont- 
gomery and Jose de la Rosa, Lieutenant Bartlett 
serving as interpreter and secretary. Rosa had been 
sent by Vallejo — just before the latter started for the 
Sacramento, though he had not been able to leave 

'°Iu Sutter^s Diary, 8, it is stated that Bartlett 'organized the garrison,' 
which is unintelligible. After Bidwell's departure the diary at New Helve- 
tia was practically suspended until May 1847. 

"June 15, 1846, Guerrero to Castro. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 115. The 
party that took Sonoma was composed of 70 men under the ' Doctor of the 
Sacramento,' and another man whom Salvador Vallejo knew from once having 
liad a quarrel with him (Merritt). 

^2 June 15, 1846, Estudillo to Pacheco, in Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., iii. 258. 
He wrote also to the prefect at the same time. This report was that the pris- 
oners, guarded by 12 men under Merritt, had passed the rancho of Cayetano 
Juarez en route for Feather River. 
Hist, Cal.. Vol. V. 9 


Sonoma until 3 p. m. — to inform Montgomery of what 
had occurred, "and to ask of him to exercise his 
authority or use his influence to prevent the commis- 
sion of acts of violence, inasmuch as they seemed to 
be without any eflectual head or authority; and to 
this end he hoped for an officer to be sent to the 
place, or a letter that would have the effect of saving 
the helpless inhabitants from violence and anarchy." 
The captain's response, which Rosa promised to de- 
liver to Yallejo at the earliest possible moment, was 
to disavow in the most explicit terms any knowledge 
of or authority for the movement on the part of the 
United States, of himself, or even of Fremont; to de- 
clare that he could not officially interfere in any man- 
ner with local, political, or criminal affairs in no way 
concerning his government; but to proffer personal 
sympathy and express his willingness to exert his 
individual influence for the protection of innocent 
persons. ^^ 

Besides the message sent back by Rosa, Montgom- 
ery decided to send an officer as requested. He 
selected Lieutenant John S. Misroon for the mission, 
and his instructions given on the evening of the 15th, 
with a supplement next morning, form the fourth of 
the records to which I have alluded. Misroon, being 
fully informed respecting Rosa's report and the reply 
that had been given, was directed to visit the insur- 
gent leader; to make known the "state of apprehen- 
sion and terror" into which the Californian people had 
been thrown by the late movement; to "request from 
me that he will extend his protecting care over the 
defenceless families of their prisoners and other inof- 
fensive persons of Sonoma;" to impress the minds of 
those in power "with a sense of the advantages which 
will accrue to their cause, whatever its intrinsic merits 
may be, from pursuing a course of kind and benevolent 

^^June 15, 1846, record of interview. Copy of original by Bartlett. 
Rosa said there were 80 men in the party; otherwise his version was a very 
accurate one. Montgomery in his reply expressed a belief that there was 
no danger of violence to non-combatants. Bear Flag PajierSf MS., 46-9. 


treatment of prisoners" and of the Californians gener- 
ally; and finally, to explain his mission fully to the civil 
authorities of Sonoma, conveying to them such assur- 
ances as he might have obtained from the insurgents, 
but avoiding any discussion or remarks respecting the 
merits of the revolt.^* The lieutenant was conveyed 
across the bay in the ship's boat, reached Sonoma late 
on the 16th, remained until the next noon, and at sun- 
set of the 1 7th was back at the ship. Of his experience 
at Sonoma I shall have more to say later; but his re- 
port was most reassuring, being to the effect that the 
insurgents intended no violence to the persons or prop- 
erty of non-combatants ; that the ''utmost harmony and 
good order prevailed in camp;" and that Vallejo was 
held merely as a hostage. ^^ Before Misroon's de- 
parture William L. Todd had arrived as a courier from 
Ide direct to Montgomery; and he went back in the 
same boat with Misroon. 

The tidings from the north of course spread rap- 
idly in the next f:w days, and were the topic of many 
communications, both among natives and foreigners.^® 

1* June 15th, 16th, Montgomery's instructions to Misroon. Bartlett's or- 
iginal copy in Bear Flag Papers, MS. , 50-2. 

^5 June 18, 1846, Misroon's report to Montgomery. Bear Flag Papers, 
MS. , 53-7. The report included a copy of Ide's proclamation, and described 

1^ June 16, 1846, Capt. Montgomery to Larkin, giving a brief account of the 
aflFair at Sonoma, as reported by Rosa and Todd. Larkin's Doc, MS., iv. 158. 
Prefect Castro to alcaldes. Tells the news, and orders a meeting of ayunt. , 
that the people may be called to arms. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 117. Gen. 
Castro to alcalde S. Jos6. Is adopting measures to resist the foreign inva- 
sion which has begun. S. Jos6, Arch., Loose Papers, MS., 47. Gen. Castro 
to his soldiers. Refers to the Sonoma outrage. Trusts they will march en- 
thusiastically to break the chain that is being wound about them. Dept. St. 
Pap., MS., vii. 58-9. June 17th, Leidesdorff at Yerba Buena to Larkin. 
Gives no details, as Montgomery has written. Gillespie will probably be 
back in a few days. Castro is at Sta Cruz preparing to go up the Sacramento 
and put things right. The writer is very bitter against Capt. Hinckley, who 
is a Mexican at heart, and who has said 'the Californians are fools if they do 
not at once take the same number of Americans prisoners.' (Hinckley died a 
few days later.) Larkbi's Doc, MS., iv. 160. Same day, Leidesdorflfs receipt 
for $36.25 from U. S. consul for a messenger giving the news. Monterey, Con- 
sulate Arch., MS., ii. 19. Fran. Arce to Manuel Castro from Sta Clara. 
The hour of the country's suflFering has now arrived. They are invaded on 
all sides. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 122. Prefect Castro to min. of rel. Inva- 
sion of the northern frontier by Frdmont, aided by the commander of the 
Portsmouth. All that is possible being done for defence. Hopes Mexico will 
not abandon Cal. Id., ii. 121. June 18th, Larkin to sec. state. Does not 


The current ideas of what had happened were, as a 
rule, tolerably accurate. It was understood that 
Fremont was at the bottom of the movement; and 
this led many of the Californians to believe errone- 
ously that he acted under instructions from the gov- 
ernment at Washington, and that Montgomery, es- 
pecially as he had just sent a boat-load of supplies to 
Fremont, was also in the plot. The reported raising 
of a strange and unheard-of flag by the insurgents 
was alarming to many of the natives, but much less 
so than if it had not been supposed that the bear and 
star were but a temporary substitute for the stars 
and stripes. Even Americans were disposed to think 
that Fremont was acting under instructions, else their 
surprise would have been much greater. 

The first measure of defence, naturally from a Mex- 
ican standpoint, was a patriotic proclamation. Gen- 
eral Castro issued two of them on June 17th from his 
headquarters at Santa Clara. I reproduce them in a 
note.^^ The first was an appeal to the Californians to 

know if the reports are true or not. Frdmont and Gillespie suspected of be- 
ing at the root of the matter. Many believe the U. S. consul has known of 
the plans all along, Larkin^s Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 65-6. June 19th, Leides- 
dortf to Larkin. Gives an account from ' the only authentic sources. ' No 
disorders at Sonoma. Full guaranties. All property taken paid for, etc. Id., 
Doc, MS., iv. 167. June 20th, Montgomery to LeidesdorfF. Is surprised to 
learn by his letter that 200 men have been collected to oppose the insurgents. 
The launch has returned from Fremont. The prisoners were taken to his 
camp by the request of Vallejo. Fremont's neutral position did not allow 
his taking charge of them, so they were removed to Sutter's, where they are 
detained as hostages. Sutter has joined the insurgents. The insurgent force 
must have increased considerably. Doubts that they can easily be surprised. 
The men know how to use their arms. 'My position, you know, is neutral. I 
am a mere observer of passing events . . I know no way consistently with 
this view of doing what you name, but feel not much concerned on that ac- 
count, for reasons before stated.' Shall move to Yerba Buena (from Sauza- 
lito) next week, if it be found expedient.' Fitch, Doc, MS., 394. 

^^ The original of the first is found in Dept. St. Pap.. MS., vii. 239, appar- 
ently in Arce s writing with Castro's signature. In respect of style, grammar, 
and orthography, it is very bad, defying literal translation. I have found no 
original or Spanish copy of the 2d proclamation. Three sets of translations 
are extant: one, inaccurate in some respects, in the Monterey Californian, 
Sept. 12, 1846; and S. F. Californian, June 5, 1847; another, slightly cor- 
rected, in BryanVs What I Saw in Cal., 293-4, followed with sHght changes 
in Lancejfs Cruise, 62-3; Marin Co. Hist., 77-8, and other local histories; and 
a third was that made for Larkin from the original, more nearly literal than 
the others, in Larhin^s Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 70-1; Saioyer's Doc, MS., 52, 


fight in defence of their country; and the second a 
promise of protection to all foreign residents taking 
no part in the revolt. Both documents were of the 
type usually employed in such cases by officers of Latin 
race — and by many of other races — to arouse the pa- 
triotism of those under their command, and to *save 
their responsibility' with superiors. They were in 
substance what circumstances required, and by no 
means so absurdly bombastic as it has been the fashion 
to regard them. It is true that the outrage at So- 
noma was attributed to the 'contemptible policy' of 
the United States; but Castro had every reason to 
suppose Frdmont to be acting under instructions, and 
had this been so, the policy, in connection with the 
recent acts and utterances of Larkin and other agents 
of their government, would have been indeed 'con- 

60-1. The following version varies slightly here and there from either of the 

' The citizen Jos6 Castro, lieut-col. of cavalry in the Mexican army, and 
comandante general ad interim of the department of Calif ornias. Fellow-cit- 
izens: The contemptible policy of the agents of the government of the U. S. 
of the north has induced a number of adventurers, regardless of the rights of 
men, to boldly undertake an invasion, by possessing themselves of the town 
of Sonoma, and taking by surprise the military commander of that frontier, 
Col. Don M. G. Vallejo, Lieut-col. Don Victor Prudon, Capt. Don Salvador 
Vallejo, and Mr Jacob P. Leese. Fellow-countrymen: The defence of our 
liberty, of the religion of our fathers, and of our independence impels us to 
sacrifice ourselves rather than lose these inestimable blessings. Banish from 
your hearts all petty resentments; turn and behold those families and children 
unfortunately in the hands of our foes — snatched from the bosoms of their 
fathers, who are prisoners among foreigners, and who loudly call on us for 
succor. There is yet time for us to rise en masse, irresistible and just. Doubt 
not that divine providence will guide us to glory. Nor should you doubt 
tliat in this headquarters, notwithstanding the smallness of the garrison, the 
fii'st to sacrifice himself will be your fellow -citizen and friend, Jos6 Castro. 
Headquarters at Sta Clara, June 17, 1846.' 

'The citizen Jose Castro, etc, All foreigners residing among us, occupied 
in their business, may rest assured of protection from all authorities of the 
department so long as they take no part in revolutionary movements. The 
comandancia in my charge will never proceed lightly against any person what- 
ever, neither will it be influenced by mere words without proofs; declarations 
shall be taken, proof exacted, and the liberty and rights of the laborious, ever 
commendable, shall be protected. Let the fortune of war take its chance 
with those ungrateful persons who with arms in their hands have attacked 
the country, forgetting that in former times they were treated by the under- 
signed with his characteristic indulgence. Impartial inhabitants of the dept 
are witnesses to the truth of this. I have nothing to fear; duty leads me to 
death or victory. I am a Mexican soldier, and I will be free and independ- 
ent, or die w^ith pleasure for those inestimable blessings. Josd Casti-o,' etc. 


Prefect Manuel Castro cooperated with the gen- 
eral in his eflforts to prepare for defence, as did the 
different alcaldes to some extent; but the response on 
the part of the people was not a very hearty one. 
With considerable difficulty Castro succeeded in in- 
creasing his force to about one hundred and sixty in 
ten days; a force organized in three divisions under 
the command of J. A. Carrillo, Joaquin de la Torre, 
and Manuel Castro respectively.^^ It was his inten- 

" Castro in a letter to Pico ou June 25th gives 160 as the total of his force. 
Castro, Doc., MS., ii. 127. There is no other definite contemporary record 
on the subject. I give the following r^sum^ of correspondence: 

June 17, 1S46, Gen. Castro to Pico. An earnest appeal for P.'s coopera- 
tion. All resentment should be dropped. Let us act together, and give an 
example of patriotism. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 60-1, 119. June 17th, bando 
posted by Alcalde Escamilla of Monterey. All subordinate local officials 
must call upon the citizens to rise. Every one having horses must contrib- 
ute them by 10 o'clock to-moiTow, also supplying arms, etc., as they can. A 
record to be kept of all contributions and receipts to be given. Dept. St. Pap., 
Mont., MS., iii. 121-2. June 17th, Sub-prefect Guerrero to alcalde of S. Jos6, 
describing the 'bear flag,' and warning against dangers at S. Jos6. S. Jose, 
Arch., Loose Pap., MS., 37. June 19th, Manuel Castro leaves Monterey with 
citizens for S. Juan to take part in the campaign. Dept. St. Pap. , MS. , vii. 
29. June 21st, Castro to Pico, urging him to come north with all the force 
he can raise. If he will not do it, let him say so at once, so that time and 
men may not be wasted in sending despatches. Id., vii. 56-7. Leidesdorff 
to Larkin. Sutter has joined the rebels. 'I am told that some of the Cali- 
fomians ha\e driven all their horses ofif to the coast, so that Castro will not 
get them.' Larkin's Doc, MS., iv. 171. Larkin to U. S. consul at Honolulu. 
Sends his wife and children for protection. The Californians talk of seizing 
him; and at any rate, war has broken out. Id., Off. Corresp., MS., i. 116. 
June 22d, Prefect Castro to alcalde of S. Jos6. Is cooperating with the gen- 
eral. The citizen who makes excuses is a traitor. Volunteer companies of 
50 men may choose their officers. Our homes must be defended. S. Jose, A rch. , 
Loose Pap., MS., 28. June 23d, same to same. Let the men march to Sta 
Clara at once. Id., bd. Let fire-arms be collected at the ranchos. Id., 26. 
To Pedro Chaboya. Let a list be sent him of those making excuses. Id. , 35. 
June 24th, Larkin to sec. state. Castro has 200 men at Sta Clara; got but 
few from Monterey. No news of any increase in Ide's forces. Castro will 
probably not go north. Saici/er^s Doc., MS., 55-7. June 24th, a messenger 
paid $65 for carrying expresses from Monterey to S. Jos6 and to Leidesdorff 
and to Montgomery. Monterey, Consulate Arch., MS., ii. 15. Same date, letter 
to the Honolulu Friend, iv. 169-70, from a Yerba Buena correspondent, giv- 
ing a very good account of what had occurred, including Castro's proclama- 
tion, and Misroon's visit to Sonoma. He says that Ide and Castro are said 
to have each about 150 men. Forty or 50 of Castro's men crossed the bay to- 
day (or perhaps on the 23d), and a fight will soon occur. June 25th, Manuel 
Castro to Pico, 'en route for Sonoma.' Has been to Sta Cruz to get horses 
and stir up the people. Second division organized and on the march. Urges 
Pico to render aid. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 10. Same date. Gen. Castro to 
Pico, 160 men moving on Sonoma. He is marching in the rear and organiz- 
ing a reserve force to guard against a repulse. Fremont with 400 ( I) riflemen 
on his way to protect Sonoma. Pico has now a chance to immortalize his 
name if he will but listen to Castro's advice. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 127; Dej/t. 


tion to send the three divisions across the bay to at- 
tack Ide's garrison. To this end Torre with his fifty 
or sixty men did cross from San Pablo to Point Quin- 
tin probably in the evening of June 23d, employing 
for that purpose the launch belonging to the owner of 
the rancho. The other divisions under Carrillo and 
Castro also followed a day or two later as far as San 
Pablo, but did not attempt to cross. Why not, is not 
altogether clear. Lack of boats is given as the rea- 
son by some, and by others cowardice on the part of 
the leaders. Either of these motives would certainly 
have been quite as strong in the case of Torre as in 
that of the others. The truth is apparently that the 
crossing, to be followed by a combined attack on So- 
noma, was to take place either on a fixed day, or on 
a day to be fixed by Torre ; but before the arrival of 
the day, or before any communication from Don Joa- 

St. Pap., MS., vii. 67. Rafael Pinto ordered to report for duty at headquar- 
ters. Id., Ben. CusL-FI., vi. 679. June 26th, prefect to alcalde. All citizens 
must at once become soldiers. S. Jos6,Arch., Loose Pap., MS., 26. June 
30th, Leidesdorff to Larkin. If the Portsmouth were not here, he would have 
to run away, since Hinckley has advised his arrest. H. and Ridley are * more 
Mexicans than the Mexicans themselves. However, they will get their just 
due one of these days.' Larkhi's Doc, MS., iv. 189. June 30th, Larkin to 
U. S. consul at Honolulu. Has received a letter from Pico, who blames him; 
' but the most I could do would be to act like his Excellency and issue a proc- 
lamation 1 am dreaming of trying to persuade the Californians to call 

on the commodore for protection, hoist his flag, and be his countrymen, or the 
Bears may destroy them.' Id.., Off. Corresp., MS., i. 125. June 30th, Leides- 
dorjQf to Larkin. S. Rafael taken; 150 insurgents there and 50 at Sonoma. 
Castro was to have crossed yesterday from S. Pablo. If he did, it is 'all up 
with him.' Torre was also to have attacked Sonoma yesterday. Bidwell in 
command at Sutter's. Reading, Hensley, and all the rest are coming to join 
the force. Id., Doc, MS., iv. 189. June 30th, Gen. Castro to Pico. Back 
at Sta Clara; and reports Torre's retreat and that of the other divisions (as 
explained in my text). A council of war has decided to send Manual Castro 
as a comisionado to the gov. A new plan of operations must be formed. The 
insurgents are being rapidly reenforced. Blotter in Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 131. 
Same document, dated July 1st. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 67-8. July 2d, 
Castro (Sta Clara) to Abrego. Must try to negotiate a loan, pledging lands 
of S. Juan, S. Jos^, and Sta Clara. Id., xiii. 14-15. July 2d, Montgomery 
to Larkin. The insurgents have come to Yerba Buena and taken Ridley pris- 
oner. The country is undoubtedly theirs without much more trouble. In 15 
days they will be in your midst. A letter from Castro to Torre was inter- 
cepted, directing him to kill every American and Englishman that fell into 
his hands. The men are very bitter against Castro. Larkhi's Doc , MS. , iv. 
192. July 4th, L. to U. S. consul at Honolulu. Explains Castro's former 
plan of campaign — that is, to join his three divisions with the natives north of 
the bay and to surprise Ide's garrison. Id., Off. Corresp., MS., i. 125. 



quin could be obtained, that officer himself recrossed 
the bay in retreat, reporting that the insurgent force 
was too strong to be attacked with any hope of suc- 
cess. Torre's experience on the north side will be 
narrated in the next chapter. His return was on the 
29th, on which date all three divisions were back at 
the San Lorenzo rancho; and next day at the old 
headquarters at Santa Clara. A council of war de- 
termined that the old plan of operations must be 
abandoned, and that a new one must include the 
cooperation of Pico and his southern forces. Manuel 
Castro was chosen as the man most likely to bring 
Don Pio to his senses and to effect a reconciliation; 
and a few days later with a small escort he started on 
his mission, meeting the governor at Santa Ines. 
Meanwhile the general moved with his army south- 
ward to San Juan, where he was on July 8th, when 
news came that Monterey was in the hands of the 
Americans — news that sent Don Jose in some haste 
still farther southward. 

Besides the not very brilliant achievements of Cas- 
tro's army, and the correspondence of which I have 
given a resume, there is but little to be noted during 
the revolutionary period of what happened in the 
central districts. On July 1st and 2d, San Francisco 
was twice visited by insurgent parties from across the 
bay, one of which spiked the guns in the abandoned 
fort, and another took Robert Ridley from his house 
at Yerba Buena, carrying him as a prisoner to the Sac- 
ramento. This was doubtless done at the instigation of 
Leidesdorff, whose sympathy for the revolutionists was 
unconcealed, and who was very bitter against Ridley 
and Hinckley, who, being Mexican officials, did not 
agree with the vice- consul's views. Hinckley escaped 
arrest by having died a day or two before. Another 
arrest of these times was tliat of Charles M. Weber 
with two others, Washburn and Burt, at San Jose, by 
Castro. Little is known of this affair beyond the fact 
that Weber was arrested and carried south as a pris- 


oner. According to a current account, supposed to 
emanate from himself, Weber, having heard of the 
Sonoma revolt on June 19th by a letter from Lieu- 
tenant Bartlett, went to Yerba Buena, and thence 
across to San Rafael, where he had an interview with 
Fremont, and by that officer's advice returned to the 
vicinity of San Jose to raise a force secretly for the 
protection of American families in that region, at the 
same time inviting Fallon of Santa Cruz to raise a 
force and join him. It was while thus employed that 
he was arrested, his life being spared only because of 
Castro's personal friendship. Weber had previously 
declined a commission as captain of auxiliaries in the 
Californian army.^^ There is no reason to doubt that 
Weber and others may have attempted an organiza- 
tion for self-protection ; holding themselves in readi- 
ness for the results likely to spring from the revolt, 
which, however, many of them did not approve. It 
was a current idea among the Californians that Mont- 
gomery was permitting his officers with the Ports- 

^^8. Jo84 Pioneer, March 6, 1880; Tinkham^s Hist. Stockton, 101. June 
23cl, Weber to alcalde of S. Jos6, declining appointment of captain on account 
of his business relations with foreigners. In Halleck's Mex. Land Laws, MS. 
June 17th, sub-prefect Guerrero to S. Jos6 alcalde. By loud talk of foreigners 
he has learned that 40 of them are ready to capture S. Jos6, while others do 
the same thing here at Yerba Buena. Great precautions should be taken. Is 
not pleased that the son of Ide goes about as he pleases at the pueblo. 8. Jos6, 
Arch., Loose Pap., MS., 37. June 27th, no place or writer's name. The 25 
armed foreigners at Sta Cruz intended to start this a.m. It is not known 
whether they will pass this way, or, as would be more prudent, go to the Sac- 
ramento. Id., 39. According to the Piomer, Fallon arrived the day after 
Weber's arrest. Floras, Recuerdos, MS., 10-26, claims to have learned from 
Mrs Bueluaof Weber's hostile plans and concealed weapons, and to have given 
Castro the information which led to his arrest. Ide, Biog. Sketch, 154, says 
that over 100 had secretly organized under Weber, Bird, and others on the 
south side of the bay. 

Accounts of Castro's preparations by men who took part in them are given 
in Pinto, Apunt., MS., 101-2; Ezquer, Mem., MS., 23-5; German, Sucesos, 
MS., 24; Torre, Remin., MS., 145-52; Buelna, Notas, MS., 22-3; Castro, 
Rel, MS., 184-95; Arc(\ Hem., 55, etc.; Alvarado, Hist. Cat., MS., v. 188- 
202, 229-30, etc. ; but these writers add little or nothing to what is revealed 
in contemporary corresp. Several state that men were forced into the ranks; 
that they sufiFered much from hunger; and that Castro made many enemies 
by his selfishness. It appears that Ex-gov. Alvarado took a prominent part 
in a private capacity in the warlike preparations. Pablo de la Guerra, I)oc. 
Hist. CaL, MS., iv. 1304, gives some personal items on the subject. C. P. 
Briggs, in Nap» Reporter, Aug. 24, 1872, narrates the services of the schooner 
Mermaid at Yerba Buena in conveying volunteers to Sonoma. 


mouth's boats to aid the insurgents; but though the 
sympathies of the naval officers were clearly shown in 
their correspondence, there is no proof that they were 
remiss in duty."^ 

Governor Pico was at Santa Barbara, engaged in 
making ready for a march against Castro, when on 
June 28d, by a violento extraordinario from Monterey, 
he received the prefect's communication of the 19th 
making known the taking of Sonoma. He immedi- 
ately issued a proclamation, which I append in a note.^^ 

^°Osio, Hist. Cal., MS., 466-7, states that the Portmouth^s boats were en- 
gaged in preventing the crossing of the Californians. Torre, Bemin., MS., 
145-6, says that Torre on his retreat was pursued by Montgomery's boats. In 
several communications between Califomian officials, their belief in Montgom- 
ery's cooperation is manifest. Lancey, Cruise, 72-3, quotes from James W. 
Marshall an account more amusing than probable, to the effect that when the 
rebels applied on the Portsmouth for ammunition, they were met with an in- 
dignant refusal; but were told where a large quantity of powder would be put 
on shore to dry. By a pretended surprise, they overcame the guard and took 
the powder, whereupon the ship went through the form of firing four guns in 
their direction ! 

^^ 'The constitutional governor of the dept of Californias addresses to its 
inhabitants the following proclamation: Fellow-citizens: The national honor 
being gravely wounded and compromised in the highest degree at the present 
time, I have the glory of raising my voice to you, in the firm persuasion that 
you are Mexicans, that there burns in your veins the blood of those venerable 
martyrs of the country, and that you will not fail to shed it in defence of her 
liberty and independence. At this moment your dept. govt has received the 
unfortunate news, officially communicated by the political authorities of Mon- 
terey, and dated four days ago, that a gang of North American adventurers, 
with the blackest treason that the spirit of evil could invent, have invaded 
the town of Sonoma, raising their flag, and carrying oflfas prisoners four Mex- 
ican citizens. Yes, fellow-citizens; and who of you on hearing of such fatal 
perfidy will not quit the domestic hearth, and fly, gun in hand, to the field 
of honor to avenge the country's honor? Will you be insensible to the oppres- 
sion in which masters so vile wish to put us? Will the grievous groans of the 
country not move you? Will you, with serene brow, see destroyed the fun- 
damental pact of our sacred and dear institutions? No! No! Far from me 
every such suspicion! I do not believe from your patriotism, your blind love 
of country, that you will permit the beneficent and fruitful tree of sacred lib- 
erty to be profaned. The North American nation can never be our frietid. 
She has laws, religion, language, and customs totally opposed to ours. False 
to the most loyal friendship which Mexico has lavished u[)on her, to interna- 
tional law, and to the soundest policy, putting in execution her piratical 
schemes, she has stolen the dept of Texas, and wishes to do the same with that 
of Cal. — thus to iniquitously dismember the Mexican territory, to tarnish the 
flag of the tres rjarantias and raise her own, increasing the number of its fatal 
stars. Fly, Mexicans, in all haste in pursuit of the treacherous foe; follow 
him to the farthest wilderness; punish his audacity; and in case we fail, let 
us form a cemetery where posterity may rememl)er to the glory of Mexican 
history the heroism of her sons, as is remembered the glory won by the death 
of that little band of citizens posted at the Pass of Thermopylae under Gen- 


The document was much more violent and bombastic 
in style than that of Castro in the north. The writer 
evidently had other objects in view than the ordinary 
one of 'saving his responsibility' with his subjects and 
superiors, among which extraordinary objects the de- 
feat of insurgents held but a subordinate place. He 
did not entirely believe in the Sonoma revolt, being 
disposed to regard it as in some way a device of his 
rival to justify his own military preparations and as- 
sumption of special powers. He was glad, however, 
by the fervor and ultra Mexicanism of his proclama- 
tion to show his zeal at the national capital as an off- 
set to Castro's probable accusations there. He also 
hoped, by his violent denunciations of the United 
States and of Americans, to advance his own scheme 
of an appeal to England. But above all, he desired to 
create a popular excitement which should largely in- 
crease the force with which he was about to march 
north, thus enabling him to defeat the general and 
control the future of the country so far as any Cali- 
fornian could control it. This view of the matter is 
clearly expressed in a subsequent letter written by 
Don Pio to prominent citizens of Los Angeles in de- 
fence of his proclamation.^^ As to the general's ap- 

eral Leonidas. Hear their motto: "Stranger, say to Lacedemonia that we 
have died here obeying her laws." Shall we not imitate this noble example? 
Shall we consent that the northern republic bring to our soil of liberty the 
horrible slavery permitted in its States? Shall we suffer human blood sold at 
a price for vile gain? And finally, must we see profaned the august image of 
the crucified and the dogmas of our sacred religion? Foreign citizens who 
tread this soil, the dept. govt considers you under the protection of the laws 
and treaties. Your property will be respected; nobody will molest you; and 
as you also are interested in preserving peace and security, the govt invites 
you to the punishment of the bandits who have invaded the north of this 
dept. Compatriots, run swiftly with me to crown your brows with the fresh 
laurels of unfading glory; in the fields of the north they are scattered, ready 
to spring to your noble foreheads. Respond gladly, Mexicans, to the desires 
of your fellow-citizen and friend, Pio Pico. Sta Bdrbara, June 23, 1846.' 
Copy from Secretary Moreno's original blotter, in Moreno, Doc, MS., 30-2; 
copy from original, presented to the society by A, B. Thompson in 1865, in 
Ccd. Pioneers, Arch., MS., 149-56; translation by Lieut Bartlett in jBear i^/aj; 
Papers, MS., 22-4; translation in Sawyer's Doc. , MS., 62-5. 

■^'^ June 27th, Pico to Requena, Figueroa, et al., in Moreno, Doc, MS., 33- 
40. 'Both Mexicans and resident foreigners know the extreme egotism that 
generally rules hearts; and while they know the imminent danger which threat- 
ens us, rather from within than from without, they know also who is the au- 


peals of these days to forget past resentments and 
unite for the country's defence, it does not appear that 
the governor made any reply to them. On the 23d 
and following days he wrote several communications, 
in which he appealed to the patriotism of citizens, 
summoned the members of the assembly to Santa 
Barbara, and above all urged the sending-forward of 
men and munitions for his expedition to the north.^^ 

The response to Pico's appeals in the south was not 
more satisfactory than that to Castro's in the north. 
Not more than a dozen or fifteen men were sent from 
Los Angeles, after much correspondence. There was 
difficulty even in finding guards to preserve order in 
the city. On Pico's departure from the capital the 
foreign residents had taken upon themselves that duty, 
and had rendered most effectual service; but now, hav- 
ing no wish to serve under Pico in the north, espe- 
cially when it might become necessary to fight against 
their countrymen, they chose to be offended at the 
governor's denunciation of Americans, and threatened 
to leave the city to the protection of native citizens. 
Alarmed by the disaffection of the foreigners, promi- 
nent men sent to Pico their protests against the tone 

tlior of so many evils, and are aware of the many appeals which the govt has 
made to end them. And what has the govt obtained but insult and outrage 
upon outrage? Is is not true that he found great aid in the proceedings of the 
foi'eigners to carry his point with the natives? and that for this reason 50 Bar- 
bareiios were eager to march north under the gov., while before not one would 
enlist? The govt is by no means ignorant that it is impossible for us to repel 
the invasion of foreigners should they attempt one; but with the force now 
volunteering, we can march without fear to the north and punish the audac- 
ity of the com. gen., the cause of all our misfortunes. Can you doubt that had 
it not been for the afifair of the foreigners the general might already have tri- 
umphed over the govt, in these parts? At the head of 70 men well supplied 
with all resources he was marching toward these towns, aided by men to be 
feared for their de^'otedness to vengeance. The news about the Americans 
made him change his route, and here we have the old saying applicable, "No 
hay mal que por bien no venga." ' 

■''^ June 23, 1846, Pico to sub-prefect of Angeles. He is to march at once 
with the alcaldes and 50 men. The northern adventurers must be taught a 
lesson. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 29-30. June 23d-24th, Pico appoints sev- 
eral officers to serve among the dcfensores. J. P. Ayala, Luis Arenas, and 
Jos(5 Fernandez, captains. Id., vii. 33, 35, 36-7. June 23d, Pico to Figueroa. 
Trusts that he and the other diputados will come immediately. Id., vii, 28. 
June 23d, Pico to Bandini. A patriotic effusion, announcing the news and the 
duty of all Califomians. Bandini, Doc, MS., 79. 


of his [)roclamation, going so far as to advance the 
theory that the revolutionists of Sonoma were really 
acting in the governor's interest and against Castro. 
This theory Don Pio could not accept, claiming that 
Manuel Castro could not have been thus deceived ; 
but after defending his proclamation at some length, 
both on general principles and on the special plea that 
I have cited, he offered to withdraw the document if 
it had not already been published — as it had.^* To 
what extent the Americans allowed themselves to be 
conciliated by the excuses of the Angelinos and Pico's 
assurances that he had intended no menace or disre- 
spect to them, is not exactl}^ known; but it is cer- 
tain that neither they nor any great number of the 
natives could be induced to engage in any other mili- 
tary service than such as was necessary for the protec- 
tion of their town and ranches. 

Nor did the members of the assembly obey Pico's 
summons to Santa Barbara, even when he on June 
29th sent a very earnest appeal, launching the '^anath- 

'■^* June 26th, Coronel to Moreno. Doubts have been thrown on the genuine- 
ness of the proclamation in order not to lose the services of the foreigners. Mo- 
reno, Doc.f MS., 22. June 27th, Pico to Requena, Figueroa, Stearns, Botello, 
and Gallardo, in reply to their communication of June 25th. Id., 33-40. June 
29th, Bandiui to P. A long protest against his inconsiderate declaration of 
the 23d, which had created no enthusiasm, had offended over 100 of the most 
influential men in Cal., and might precipitate Mexico into a war for which 
she is not ready. The act of a few men at Sonoma does not justify the term 
'bandits' applied to all Americans. Bandini, Doc, MS., 80. June 25th, 
Botello to Moreno. The proclamation has shattered all our hopes by offending 
the foreigners. We do not believe in any foreign invasion at the north. Mo- 
reno, Doc., MS., 18-20. June 28th, Coronel to Moreno. The foreigners have 
now learned that the proclamation is genuine — it had been disputed at first — 
and have retired to their homes much offended. Id., 29. June 30th, Wilson 
to Bandini, denouncing the proclamation, and claiming that the Sonoma insur- 
gents were acting in Pico's interests. Bandini, Doc, MS., 81. July 1st, Ban- 
dini wishes Pico to .send trusty men to the north to learn the motives of the 
insurgents and the general state of affairs. Id., 82. July 8th, Botello to Mo- 
reno. Has no faith in a successful resistance. The popular sentiment is 
against the tone of the proclamation as too severe. Moreno, Doc, MS., 15-17 
Botello, AnaXes, MS., 135-7, gives a good account of Los Angeles affairs at 
this period. 

June 24th-9th, miscellaneous corresp. between Sub-prefect Steams, Al- 
calde Cota, and others, concerning the measures necessary for the countrv's 
defence. Most of the items seem to refer to the preservation of order at the 
capital rather than to the sending of reenforcements to Pico. Dept. St. Pap. , 
MS., vii. 9-10, 86, 89, 121, 124; Id., Angeles, viii. 68; Moreno, Doc, MS., 21; 
Coronel, Doc, MS., 135-7. 


ema of the country against those who do not come 
to its defence," and ''holding you responsible before 
God and the nation if under trivial pretences you do 
not set out at once." There are some indications that 
the governor still had hopes of securing a meeting of 
the consejo general, before which body he had a secret 
project to urge. The assembly was convened to con- 
sider Pico's request, backed up by eight documents 
on the Sonoma revolt; and by Francisco de laGuerra 
and Joaquin Carrillo, who had come as comisionados ; 
but the decision reached was that their presence was 
not necessary at Santa Bdrbara, especially as Pico 
would be absent on his expedition; that more com- 
plete information was needed respecting affairs in the 
north; and that under the circumstances a weekly 
mail should be established P^ 

Meanwhile Don Pio went on with his warlike prep- 
arations in spite of the Angelinos' lukewarmness in 
the cause. He also wrote a letter to Consul Larkin 
on June 29th, complaining in bitter terms of what 
Americans had done at Sonoma; announcing his sus- 
picion that the government of the United States was 
concerned in the acts, which ''have the appearance of 
downright robbery;" blaming the consul for not hav- 
ing interfered in some way to prevent such scandalous 
proceedings; and hoping that for the honor of his na- 
tion he would promptly make a satisfactory explana- 
tion. Larkin in reply denied that he as consul had 
any influence over the Americans who had broken the 
laws at Sonoma; and that his government was in any 
way concerned. In fulfilment of his duty, he had prof- 
fered his aid to the general and prefect, by whom it 
had been refused.^^ Not much is recorded of the gov- 

** June 29th- July 14tli, miscellaneous records on the convoking and acts 
of the assembly. Some fault was found by Bandini and others with the tone 
adopted by Pico toward the assembly. Dept. St. Pap., MS., viii. 112-13, 
117-18, 122; vii. 12-13, 90-1; Id., Pre/, y Juzg., ii. 162; Leg. Rec, MS., iv. 
358-62; Bandini, Doc, MS., 83. Even Guerra, a member residing at Sta B., 
declined to attend the session on pretext of illness. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 

*8 June 29, 1846, P. to I>. English translation in Larkin' s Off. Corresp., 


ernor's last days at Santa Barbara; but it appears 
that by the beginning of July he had about 100 men 
ready for the march, most of whom were despatched 
ioimediately under Captain Andres Pico. Don Pio 
followed on or about July 6th, and two days later was 
at Santa Ines. Here Manuel Castro met him, hav- 
ing been sent by the general to effect a reconciliation, 
as already stated, and having passed Don Andres with 
his advance force at Los Alamos. The prefect, as 
chief civil authority in the north, as a partisan of Pico 
in most of the past controversies, and as a near rela- 
tion of both chiefs, was by far tl\e most effective me- 
diator that could have been employed. Don Manuel 
worked hard to make the governor understand the 
true position of affairs, to show that reported dangers 
were real and not mere pretences on the general's part, 
to explain the absolute necessity of united action, and, 
most potent argument of all, to make clear to Don Pio 
the unenviable position he must occupy in the eyes of 
all Californians and Mexicans should he allow his re- 
sentment to outweigh his patriotism at such a time. 
Pico was convinced against his will, not that Castro 

MS., ii. 167; Sawyer's Doc, MS., 65-8; SouWs Annals of 8. K, 93-5; Dun- 
bar's Romance, 34-6; Lnncey's Cruise, 71. July 5th, L. to P. Larkin's Off. 
Corresp., MS., ii. 132; Sawyer's Doc, MS., 68-70. Larkin seems disposed to 
fan Pico's feeling against Castro, not only by claiming that he had refused his 
aid, but by implying that the gen. might easily have retaken Sonoma, and 
also that if he would have furnished men Larkin would have captured an 
equal number of Americans to hold as hostages for the good treatment of Va- 
llejo and the others. 

June 27th, Pico's bando, requiring great precautions and a strict enforce- 
ment of the passport regulations. S. Luis Oh., Arch., MS., 9-10. June 28th, 
gov. to sub-prefect, urging that the 50 men under Gallardo be sent at once. 
He has only 68 men, mostly raw recruits — not enough for his expedition. 
Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 30. June 30th, Sta Barbara, the Spanish consul 
will advise all of his nation to place their lives and property in security in 
view of foreign invasion. Id., vii. 37. July 2d, Moreno to Andres Pico. A 
most bombastic letter. Bloody battle-fields, dying for the country, etc. Gal- 
lardo is on his march with 13 'columns' (one man in a column ?) from Angeles. 
Pico and the writer will start Monday. Pico, Doc, MS., ii. 89. July 3d, J. 
M. Flores to Pico. Has no doubt thatCal. is to share the fate of Texas. Re- 
fers to Ide's proclamation. There is no doubt that supplies are furnished by 
the U. S. men-of-war. The consul has publicly declared that the U. S. will 
get Cal. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 68-9. July 3d, Pico to Capt. Ayala. Or- 
ders to march to join Andr6s Pico. Id., viii. 136. July 8th, Pico at Sta In6s 
to Sub-prefect Steams. Declares traitors all who do not enlist for the country's 
defence. Id., vii. 34. 


was acting in good faith, but that his officers and men 
could not be depended on to fight the general; and at 
last he reluctantly promised to forget past dissensions, 
and to unite with Castro against the foreigners.^'' 
Then they marched northward until the two armies 
met on or about July 12th at the Santa Margarita 
rancho, near San Luis Obispo. Castro brought news 
that Monterey had been taken by naval officers of the 
United States; the governor and general gave each 
other a public but not very cordial embrace of recon- 
ciliation ; and all turned mournfully toward the capital 
to devise new plans of resistance to los extrangeros. 
I shall follow them later. 

^^ Castro, Servicios Pub., MS.; Id., Relacion, MS., 201--6. 



June-July, 1846. 

Ide in Command — Banner for the New Republic — Star and Grizzly — 
Raising of the Bear Flag — The Flags as Relics — Ide's Proclama- 
tion — Falsehood and Bombast — Further Organization— Minor Hap- 
penings— Ide's Version — Treaty with Alcalde — Todd's Mission to 
Montgomery — Misroon at Sonoma— Mormonism— A New Proclama- 
tion — Killing of Cowie and Fowler by the Californians — Padilla 
AND Carrillo — Sortie by Ide — Other Captives— Gibson's Expedition 
TO Santa Rosa — Insurgents Reenforced — Land Laws— Grigsby's 
Return — Ford's Campaign — Padilla Joined by Torre — A Surprise 
— Fight at Olompali — Torre Defeated by the 'Bears.' 

We left William B. Ide with twenty-four men in 
possession of Sonoma. The alcalde and many citizens 
were under arrest. Three Mexican officials had been 
sent as prisoaers to the Sacramento. This was just 
before noon on the 14th of June. For four or five 
days it does not appear that there was any increase 
in the insurgent garrison; but during that time several 
weighty matters of state were disposed of by these 
soi-disant founders of a republic. A flag was devised, 
manufactured, and raised ; a proclamation was written, 
embodying the principles, plans, and motives of the 
insurgents; the imprisoned Californians were perhaps 
released under certain stipulations; and diplomatic 
messengers were despatched and received by the com- 
mander. Many details respecting each of these mat- 
ters are involved in more or less uncertainty, as might 
be expected from the very nature of the records, chiefly 
the memory of individuals concerned; but I proceed 

Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 10 ( Uo ) 


to throw on the whole subject such hght as existing 
evidence can be made to furnish, hoping to reduce 
prevalent doubts and discrepancies of testimony to a 

The need of a banner was naturally one of the first 
suggested. The insurgents had no right to unfurl 
the stars and stripes, as many of them would doubt- 
less have preferred to do; yet any flag devised by Amer- 
icans must needs have at least a star and a stripe; and 
the appropriateness of a lone star could not fail to sug- 
gest itself to men familiar with the history of Texas, 
and the similarity of condition between that country 
and what they hoped to make of California. A sim- 
ple copy would not, however, suffice, and an additional 
emblem was required. Somebody proposed the griz- 
zly bear, an animal then common in those regions, and 
whose reputation for "strength and unyielding resist- 
ance" could be attested by every one of those resolute 
hunters from personal experience. For materials they 
took what they could find; that is, a piece of common 
unbleached cotton cloth, the mania of the Mexicans, 
somewhat less than a yard in width and five feet long, 
and some strips of red flannel about four inches wide. 
The flannel, the stripe of the flag, made of the requi- 
site length by piecing, was sewn to the bottom of the 
cotton. In the upper left-hand corner of the white 
field was outlined in ink, and filled in with red paint, 
an irregular five-pointed star, fifteen inches in its great- 
est diameter. Just to the right of the star, and facing 
it, was painted in like manner what was intended for 
a bear, statant, though it has been pronounced more 
like a hog by experts who cared little for the feelings 
of the last-named animal. Under the two emblems 
was rudely lettered in black ink California Republic. 
Such was the famous Bear Flag, which has given a 
name to the revolution, and which caused the insur- 
gents to be known to the natives as Osos. I think 
there can be no doubt that William L. Todd was the 
artist who painted it; but respecting the accuracy of 


many other current details grave doubts arise from 
conflicting testimony. Who first suggested the com- 
ponent emblems of the banner; who furnished the cot- 
ton, and who the flannel; whence came the red paint; 
was the cloth new or old; had the flannel graced the 
undergarment of a fair and patriotic lady, or had it 
filled an humbler station as part of a man's red shirt ; 
who manipulated the needle and thread; who merely 
' stood around' in the artist's way ; whose knife was bor- 
rowed to cut the stufl*; and was that knife ever returned 
to its owner — these are questions that I cannot answer 
so definitely as might be desired ; but on some of them 
the reader may find light in the appended note.^ 

HVm L. Todd in a letter of June 16, 1872, to Wm Baldridge says: *At a 
company meeting it was determined that we should raise a flag; and it should 
be a bear en passant, with one star. One of the ladies at the garrison gave us 
a piece of brown domestic, and Mrs Capt. John Sears gave us some strips of 
red flannel about four inches wide. The domestic was new, but the flannel 
was said to have been part of a petticoat worn by Mrs Sears across the moun- 
tains. For a corroboration of these facts, I refer to G. P. Swift and Pat Mc- 
Ohristian. I took a pen, and with ink drew the outliiie of the bear and star 
upon the white cotton cloth. Linseed oil and Venetian red were found in 
the garrison, and I painted the bear and star. To the best of my recollec- 
tion, Peter Storm was asked to paint it, but he declined; and as no other per- 
son would undertake to do it, I did. But Mr Storm with several others 
assisted in getting the materials, and I believed Storm mixed the paint. 
Underneath the bear and star were printed with a pen the words ' ' California 
Republic," in Roman letters. In painting the words I first lined out the 
letters with a pen, leaving out the letter "i" and putting " c" where *'i" 
should have been, and afterwards the " i" over the " c." It was made with 
ink, and as we had nothing to remove the marks of the false letter, it now 
remains so on the flag.' In Napa Jiegister, July 6, 1872. In a letter of Jan. 
11, 1878, to the Los Angeles Express, reprinted in many other papers, Todd 
tells the same story in words but slightly different, saying: ' The following 
persons performed the work — Granville P. Swift, Peter Storm, Henry L. 
Ford, and myself.' He also confirms the same version in a letter of March 
6, 1878, to the secretary of the Territorial Pioneers. Copy in Bear Flag 
Pap., MS., 41. Ford, Bear Flo.g Revol, MS., 12-13, gives an account 
which agrees so far as it goes with that in my text; and he claims for himself 
the honor of having suggested the grizzly bear. Ide, Biog. Sketch, 130-1; 
and also in a quotation from the MS. before publication furnished to the 
sec. of the territorial i)ioneers in a letter of April 10, 1878, from Jas G. 
Bleak of St George, Utah — a letter that has been often reprinted — credits 
Todd with having done the work; says the flannel was from the red 
shirt of one of the men; and erroneously states that the lettering was in 
red paint. In the Hist. Bear Flag, we read: 'A national flag was agreed 
upon — its base a brown stripe, next above a wide stripe of green cut so as to 
represent growing Tula; the upper part white to represent the clear horizon, 
on the end of the flag-staff a rising star, and in the brown stripe the words 
in capitals "California Republic.'" Baldridge, Days of '4G, MS., i.-vii. 8, 
and in Napa Register, April 27, 1872, who did not reach Sonoma until some 
days after the flag was raised, heard an account on arrival confirming Todd's 


The Bear Flag has been preserved for many years 
in the hall of the California Pioneers in San Francis- 
co; that is, I have found no reason to question the 

very nearly, except that he understood the flannel to have been furnished by 
a native Califomian, Chepa Matthews, wife of Wm Matthews. Baldridge 
complains that some of his statements of former years, correcting popular 
errors, were not so generally credited as they should have been. McChris- 
tian, Narrative, MS., 1-5, tells us that Capt. Scott proposed to make a 
flag if Mrs Hudson would give the stuff", though Mrs Sears gave the white 
domestic. Phelps, Fore and Aft, 284-C, says the flag was a grizzly rampant 
done on a white cotton sheet with lamp-black. In the West Shore Gazette, 
13, we are told that Mrs Kelsey furnished the worn-out cotton. Thompson, 
Hist. Sonoma, 15, has it that Mrs Elliott supplied new cotton and flannel. In 
the Monterey Califomian, Feb. 13, 1847, we read that the painting was done 
with lamp-black and poke-berries; and that the letters were on the top. 
According to Gillespie, in Cal. Pioneers Soc. Arch., MS., 137, the white body 
of tlie flag was made of the chemise of Mrs Wm Hudson, and the flannel 
came from Mrs Sears' petticoat. A chewed stick was used for a brush. Mc- 
George, in Petaluma Crescent, Sept. 10, 1872. Tuthill, Hist. Cal, 172-3, 
speaks of a pot of berry juice. An account from Semple's MSS. in.Hesperian, 
iii. 389-90, has it that the red stripe was stained with berry juice, and under 
it were the words 'The People's Rights.' In an article prepared for the 
Pioneer Society by its historian, Hittell described the bear as standing nearly 
upright, confounding the original flag with another. S. F. Alta, Jan. 8, 1878, 
and in many other papers. According to a 'true history of the Bear Flag,' 
in the Santa Rosa Sonoma Democrat, Aug. 8, 1874, copied in Napa Register, 
Aug. 15, 1874, and in other papers, we are told that the project of a flag 
came up in a ' casual conversation ' between Todd, Dewell, and Cowie. 
Dewell obtained from Mrs W. B. Elliott the flannel, domestic, and needles and 
thread. Blue drilling was obtained elsewhere. Cowie and Dewell had been 
saddlers, and the three young men proceeded to make the flag without con- 
sulting any one else, by sewing together alternate strips of red, white, and 
blue (1), Todd painting a star in the upper corner and a bear in tlie lower. 
Swasey, Cal. ^4^-6, MS., 26, seems to have adopted the version just given. 
Peter Storm has often been credited with having painted the Bear Flag. At 
a celebration in Napa, Sept. 9, 1873, Storm, introduced by Brannan, stood up 
and was cheered as the artist, at the same time waving a counterpart of the 
original. Napa Register, Sept. 13, 1873. In 1871 also Storm, visiting S. F., 
was honored as the painter of the flag. CaUstoga Tribune, Dec. 21, 1871. It 
would seem that Storm did paint a flag, but somewhat later and at Napa. 
Baldridge, JJays of '.^6', MS., i.-vi. 8, and in Napa Register, April 27th, 
tells us that it was painted on a piece of greenish fabric at Napa in 1848 for 
the use of a party going to Sonoma for a celebration of July 4th. He thinks 
it is one of the flags preserved by the pioneers at their hall in S. F. A cor- 
respondent, perhaps Baldridge also, gave the same version to the Napa Re- 
•porter, and claims to have furnished the materials. He says that Todd's flag 
was made of * Dirty Matthews' wife's red flannel petticoat. ' Fowler, Bear 
Fla<i, MS., 2-4, says the material came from a sloop at the month of Napa 
Creek, the writer being present. Storm doing the work, and the bear being 
represented as standing on its hind legs. Fowler, however, says that this flag 
was made before June 14th, and was the one hoisted at Sonoma. Knight, 
Statement, MS. , 9, thinks that Storm was the painter. In a letter of Feb. 20, 
1874, Gen. Joseph W. Revere writes to the soc. of Cal. pioneers: 'At the 
suggestion of Gen. Shennan, I beg leave to send to your society forthwith a 
guidon, formerly belonging to the Sonoma troop of the Cal. battalion, 184G, 
for preservation. This guidon I found among the effects of the troop when 
I hauled down the Bear Flag at Sonoma, and substituted the flag of the U. 


genuineness of the flag there preserved, though strictly 
speaking, it is not so fully proven by documentary evi- 
dence as would be desirable. Two other bear flags 
are preserved by the same society. One of them is 
of the same size as the original, but differs from it in 
several respects: the white field is of bunting; the star 
is much smaller, and black instead of red; the bear, 
also black, is drawn 'rampant' and with outlines much 
less inaccurate than in Todd's effort. Beyond the 
probability that this is the flag painted by Peter 
Storm, as indicated in my notes, I have found no 
proofs respecting its origin. The other flag is the 
guidon presented by Revere. Its dimensions are 42 
by 20 inches; and the material, both of field and stripe, 
is silk. The bear, statant, is under the inscription, 
faces away from the star, and is much better drawn 
than the original. Both material and execution indi- 
cate that it was made after Fremont's arrival at So- 
noma, and probably after communication had been 
established with the men-of-war; but nothing definite 
is known of its origin beyond Bevere's statement that 
he found it at Sonoma in July. 

The date on which the Bear Flag was raised has 
been in late years a topic of much discussion. The 
writers who have engaged in it have devoted their 
attention almost exclusively to the date of the taking 
of Sonoma. Obtaining some slight evidence that the 
town was taken on June 14th — a date respecting the 
accuracy of which there can be no possible doubt, it 
being fully established by the many original documents 

S. on the 7th (?) of July, 1846, and have preserved it ever since.' Printed in 
Sacramento Enterprise of Oct, 10, 1875, and in many other places. See 
accounts of the Bear Flag, containing I believe nothing not already noted, in 
S. F. Herald, July 9, 1858; S. F. Alia, July 20, 24, 1852; Jan. 20, 1806; Jan. 
8, 1878; Oct. 8, 1874; Sac. Union, June 21, 1858; Id. Mercury, 1858; .V. Jos6 
Mercury, 1861 (Hittell); Antioch Ledger, Aug. 15, 1874; Sta Barbara Press, 
Oct. lO', 1874; Sta Cruz Sentinel, March 11, 1876; S. F. Post, July 21, 1877; 
^S'. F. Bulletin, Dec. 20, 1877; *S'. F. Call, Jan. 8, 1878; S. Jos6 Pioneer, 
March 1, 1879; Napa Reporter, Jan. 18, 1878; Healdshirg Enterprise, June 
27, 1878; Petaluma Argus, Feb. 22, 1878; Napa Register, April 13, 1872. 
Also general r6sum6 in Upham's Notes, 563-6; Lancey's Cruise, 57-61. 
Also mention in nearly all the county histories of Cal., and, in fact, in most 
of the authorities quoted in this chapter and the preceding. 


I have presented — they have regarded their dihgent 
investigations as rewarded with conclusive proof that 
the flag was unfurled on the same day. No such 
conclusive proof, however, exists. The question is 
whether the flag was raised on the day of the capture, 
the next day, or later. There is no contemporary 
record on the subject of earlier date than June 17th, 
when Misroon found the flag flying; and no witness, 
testifying from memory, has had his attention called 
directly to the question at issue. Ide states, though 
not in a diary as has been claimed, that the flag-rais- 
ing was on the 14th. Ford also implies that the flag 
was raised before night on the first day, though he 
also states that it was hoisted at sunrise next morning. 
BidwelFs testimony favors the theory that it was 
probably not raised on the first day. A few in later 
times tell us that it was several days after the taking 
of Sonoma; but most say nothing on the subject. 
The balance of testimony is therefore in a sense in 
favor of the 14th; but the evidence is very slight in- 
deed; and it must be regarded as doubtful whether 
the insurgents had time on that Sunday afternoon to 
devise, manufacture, and hoist their new banner; 
especially if, as some say, the halyards were broken, 
so that the flag-staif in the plaza had to be lowered 
and raised again. ^ 

A proclamation was deemed no less essential than a 
flag. Some wished to wait until their force should be 
increased, or until a few prominent persons could be 
induced to join the movement, or until Fremont's 
views could be ascertained. But the majority felt 
that what they had done bore on its face too strong a 
resemblance to a mere filibustering movement for 

*In the course of the discussion alluded to, the sec. of the territorial 
pioneers published the statement that ' Bancroft, the Pacific coast liistorian, * 
had fixed the date as June 15th; and this statement has been repeated by a 
dozen writers. While duly flattered by the complimentary title thus circu- 
lated in connection with my name, I must protest that I had never formed or 
expressed any such opinion. 


plunder; at least, it was sure to be so represented by 
enemies, and "how were our forces to be augmented, 
and who would come to the assistance of those who 
were only represented as robbers and rebels?"^ Ac- 
cordingly a pronunciamiento was decided on. It was 
written by Commander Ide, and bore the date of June 
15th, having been prepared, as the writer states, be- 
tween the hours of one and four that morning. Many 
copies were made during the next few days, in which 
vast improvements were made in orthography, and 
some slight verbal changes were introduced. A sup- 
plemental proclamation was issued on the 18th; and 
possibly that date was also attached to some copies of 
the original, a circumstance that has led writers on 
the subject into great confusion. I reproduce the docu- 
ment, and add some notes upon the successive stages 
of its development.* This proclamation consisted first 

' ' So here we were; by our flag proclaimed 'the California Republic '! 24 
self -consecrated victims to the god of equal rights, unknown by any mortal 
being except 10 men who had dissented from our plan and fled to the protec- 
tion of Fremont's camp [except 30 or 40 Spaniards who had from a brief ac- 
quaintance sworn fidelity to our cause], exposed not only to the wrath of 600 
armed men (!), whom we were compelled, in order to avoid the just imputa- 
tion of violence and crime, to defy in open fight, but to the unmingled scorn 
of all honorable men whether Mexicans or Americans, if we failed to represent 
our true character, and the circumstances which compelled us to assume such 
an unusual position. Was it prudent to delay a just representation to the 
public ear?' etc. Ide's Biog. Sketch, 135-7. 

* What purports to be an original in Ide's own writing — Louis R. Lull cer- 
tifying to the handwriting, Manuel Castro affirming that it was the one sent 
him as prefect and remaining in his possession since 1846, and there being no 
reason that I know of to doubt its genuineness — is preserved by the pioneer 
society, California Pioneers, Arch., MS., 71-5; and was printed in thews'. F. 
Alta, Jan. 20, 1866. Except in its outrageously bad spelling and punctuation, 
it agrees with the one I print below. 

One of the early copies, or originals — for they appear to have been copied 
both by Ide and by others of the garrison — reached Monterey, and was copied 
by or for Larkin at the time. This copy is found in Larkin's Off. Corresp., 
MS., ii. 69-71; and Saivyer's Doc, MS., 49-51. It was also sent up the coast, 
and was first printed in the Orer/on Spectator, July 23, 1846. This is the ver- 
sion which I reproduce, differing from the original in orthography only. 
Whether the corrections were introduced wholly or in part at Monterey, there 
are no means of knowing. 

A third version is the one that has been most widely circulated,. and always 
under date of June 18th. It is in substance the same as the preceding, but 
shows several slight verbal diSerences; and it is to be noted that the last 
three paragraphs are written in the first person, ' I also solemnly declare, ' etc. , 
instead of 'he also,' etc. This version first appeared in the Monterey Califor- 
nian, Sept. 5, 1846; and later in Bryant's What I Saw in Cat., 290-1; SouWs 
Annals of S. F., 92-3; Lancey's Cruise, 03; and in several of the recent county 


of a statement of the inducements under which the 
revolutionists had settled in California — false from 
beginning to end; second, charges of deception and 

histories. That such a version was circulated is indicated by two Spanish 
translations in Savage, Doc, MS., i. 41; and Bandim, Doc, MS., 75. One 
is a copy of a translation certified by Dolores Pacheco, and the other a copy 
of what was understood to be a translation by Hartnell. They differ from one 
another, and are inaccurate; but both bear the date of June 18th, and both 
are written partly in the first person. 

Finally, we have the version given by Ida in his letter to Wambough, as 
printed in his Biog. Sketch, 138-40. This contains many variations from the 
original, not, however, modifying the general purport, most of which I intro- 
duce in brackets. The proclamation was as follows: 'A proclamation to all 
persons, citizens of Sonoma [inhabitants of the county (?) of Sonoma and coun- 
try around — or in version no. 3 — and citizens of the district of Sonoma], 
i-equesting them to remain at peace and to follow [pursue] their rightful occu- 
pation without fear of molestation. The commander-in-chief of the troops 
assembled at the fortress of Sonoma [com. at Sonoma] gives his inviolable 
pledge to all persons in California not found under arms [bearing arms or in- 
stigating others to take up arms against him] that they shall not be disturbed 
in their persons, their property [religion], or social relations one to another 
[to each other], by men under his command. He also [hereby most] solemnly 
declares his ol3Ject [the object of his movement] to be, first, to defend him- 
self [our women and children] and [his brave] companions in arms, who were 
invited to this country by a promise of lands on which to settle themselves 
and families; who were also promised a republican government; who, when 
having arrived in California, were denied even the privilege of buying or 
renting lands of their friends; who, instead of being allowed to participate in 
or being protected by a republican government, were oppressed by a military 
despotism; who were even threatened by proclamation from the chief officer 
[one of the principal officers] of the aforesaid despotism [oppressive govern- 
n\ent] with extermination if they would not depart out of the country, leav- 
ing all their property, their arms, and beasts of burden; and thus deprived 
[were thus to be despoiled] of the means of flight or defence, we were to be 
[to have been] driven through deserts inhabited by hostile Indians [savages] 
to certain death [destruction.] To overthrow a government which has seized 
upon the property of [robbed and despoiled] the missions [and appropriated 
the property thereof] for its individual aggrandizement [of its favorites]; 
[which has violated gootl faith by its treachery in the bestowment of public 
lands]; which has ruined and shamefully oppressed the laboring [and produc- 
ing inhabitants] people of California by their enormous exactions [of tariff] 
on goods imported into the country, is the determined [this is the] purpose 
of the brave men who are associated under his command. He also solemnly 
declares [I also declare, etc. , in version no. 3] his object in the second place to 
be, to invite all peaceable and good citizens of California, who are friendly 
to the maintenance of good order and equal rights, and I do hereby invite 
them to repair to my camp at Sonoma without delay [and he hereby invites 
all good and patriotic citizens in California to assist him to establish, etc.], 
to assist us in establishing and perpetuating a republican [liberal, just, and 
honorable] government, which shall secure to all civil and religious [and per- 
.sonal] libert}'; [whicli shall insure the security of life and property]; which 
.shall detect and punish criine [and injustice]; which shall encourage indus- 
try, virtue, and literature; which shall leave unshackled by fetters [shall 
foster] commerce, manufactures, and mechanism [by guaranteeing freedom to 
commerce]. He further declares [proclaims] that he relies upon the recti- 
tude of our intentions [justice of his cause]; the favor of heaven; [upon the 
wisdom and good sense of the people of California;] and the bravery of those 


•oppression by the authorities — equally false, but in 
one or two particulars really credited by some of the 
men; third, some general criticisms of the existing 
government — well founded in certain respects, but 
involving no wrong to the rebels, and absurd as com- 
ing from them; fourth, bombastic promises of reform 
and of protection to non-combatants — commendable 
enough, and of the type usually made a feature of 
such effusions. As a whole, in truthfulness and con- 
sistency, as in orthography and literary merit, it was 
below the plane of Castro's and Pico's proclamations. 
In respect of bombast and general absurdity, it stood 
about midway between the two; but it derived some 
dignity from the fact that it came from men who 
meant to fight as well as talk. As a product of fili- 
busterism, pure and simple, it deserves praise not to 
be awarded from any other standpoint. 

Ford tells us that after raising their flag the men 
completed their organization by electing himself first 
lieutenant; Samuel Kelsey second lieutenant; Gran- 
ville P. Swift and Samuel Gibson sergeants. Next 
morning at sunrise, after the flag had been hoisted 
anew and the guard relieved. Lieutenant Ford ad- 
dressed his men on the responsibilities of their posi- 
tion and the necessity of strict discipline. All prom- 
ised implicit obedience to their officers, as did also 
fifteen new men who came in that evening — according 

who are bound to and associated with him by the principle of self-preserva- 
tion; by the love of truth [their love of liberty], and by the hatred of tyranny 
— for his hopes of success. He further declares [premises] that he believes 
that a government, to be prosperous and happifying [Larkin leaves this word 
out; while Ide substitutes ameleiorating /] in its tendency must originate with 
[among] its people, who are friendly to its existence; that its citizens are its 
guardians [last 12 words omitted], its officers are [should be] its servants, 
and its glory their reward [its common reward]. William B. Ide, comman- 
der. Headquarters, Sonoma, June 15, 1846.' 

In tlie various comments on Ide's proclamation I find nothing that seems to 
require notice, unless it may be the remark of Baldridge, that Ide had a mania 
for writing and for organization of govt, all his proceedings being regarded by 
the men as an amusing farce. Tuthill pronounces it ' crude in style, and in 
its allegations quite unsupported by facts, yet commendably explicit and 
direct;' and several writers have noted its untruthfulness. 


to this writer's statement, which is probably an error/' 
This is all Ford tells us of events down to the coming 
of Misroon; and with the exception of a slight resume 
in another narrative, as appended,^ we have no other 
definite authority on the subject than Ide himself. 

Following Ide, the general accuracy of whose narra- 
tive there is no good reason to doubt, though it is over- 
burdened with patriotic eloquence, bombastic egotism, 
and special pleading designed to strengthen his cause 
against Fremont, we return to the departure of Grigs- 
by and his prisoners for the Sacramento at 11a. m. 
on June 14th. After Todd and his assistants had been 
put to work on the flag, and while the rest, divided 
into two companies, the '1st artillery' and the '1st 
rifles,' were puting their arms in order, the commander, 
after posting guards and sentinels, "directed his leisure 
to the establishment of rules of discipline and order, 
and of a system of finance whereby all the defenceless 
families might be brought within the lines and sup- 
ported. Ten thousand pounds of flour were purchased 
on the credit of the government; an account was 
opened for the supply of beef on terms agreed upon; 
whiskey was altogether a contraband article." He 
also found time to harangue such men as could be 
spared from other tasks on their duties. Then with 
an interpreter he went before the thirty or forty im- 

^ Ford's Bear Flag RevoL, MS., U-15. 

* *Capt. Ide was empowered by the troops to provide provisions for their 
subsistence, and to draw orders in behalf of the republic, which were to be 
hereafter paid. Berreyesa, the Mexican alcalde, was sent for, dismissed from 
that office, and reappointed to the same by the new govt. Berreyesa pledged 
himself that the Mexican population of the district of Sonoma should not in- 
terfere in the revolution. Some further measures were adopted, limiting du- 
ties on foreign importations to one fourth of the existing rates. Horace San- 
ders was appointed commissary. A national flag was agreed upon, etc. Capt. 
Ide was made captain general; measures were taken to secure public and pri- 
\ate property; and in case private property was used by the govt, to adopt 
measures for compensating the owners therefor . . . The general in chief, on the 
IGth, sent Mr Todd on a mission to Capt. Montgomery. . .for the purpose of 
obtaining a quantity of powder. . .He declined furnishing it. . .At the same 
time measures were adopted by Gen. Ide in relation to the national domain, 
making arrangements for establishing a land office, surveying the country, 
and reserving to those who served the state ranchos of some leagues in extent. 
In the evening Mr Todd returned with Lieut Misroon,' etc. Hist. Bear Fkuj^ 
by Ide, Grigsl)y, and Nash. 


prisoned Californians to explain ''the common rights 
of all men," and his own benevolent intention to right 
all their wrongs. So eloquently did he put his case 
that ''the Spaniard, even, embraced the commander 
as he pronounced the name of Washington"! and 
though told they w^ere at liberty to depart, the impris- 
oned Berreyesa and his companions chose to remain 
until a treaty could be made. By a unanimous vote 
the "powers of the four departments of government" 
were conferred on the commander; and the evening, 
after the flag had been raised, was spent in discussions 
respecting a proclamation. 

The proclamation, as we have seen, was written 
before morning; as was also a letter to Commodore 
Stockton, and the "remainder of the night was 
spent in drawing up such articles of agreement and 
treaty stipulations as were most likely to enlist the 
good-will of all good citizens of California, without 
respect to the circumstance of any peculiar origin of 
its inhabitants." The purport of these stipulations — 
no copy of which is known to exist, and which are 
mentioned by Ide alone — was, first, no "individual 
division" of public property, that being used solely as 
security for payment for public debts; second, free 
commerce and no imposts whatever; third, no sala- 
ries, "enticements to corruption," for officials; fourth, 
no involuntary taxation, except as a punishment for 
crime; fifth, no compulsory military service; last, all 
Spaniards and Californians, "good friends," on taking 
a solemn oath to support independent principles and 
the flag, to be excused from bearing arms against their 
misguided countrymen, agreeing voluntarily to urge 
the latter not to resist, and also to furnish all supplies 
needed for the public service. There was much diffi- 
culty in making these stipulations fully understood by 
the Californians; and still more in obtaining the ap- 
proval of the insurgents themselves, some of whom 
"who at first enlisted for plunder and flight to the 
States, and who proposed to tear down and pillage the 


house of Vallejo, still earnestly contended that a Span- 
iard had no right to liberty and but very little right to 
the enjoyment of life." In fact, it was necessary for Ide 
to conduct the negotiations without the full knowledge 
of the garrison, he being sustained in the command 
only for want of any other man who could insure 

Monday morning a messenger was needed to carry 
the letter to the naval officer in command at the bay. 
This letter, as Ide insists, was not a request for aid, 
but a statement of their acts and purposes, being in- 
tended chiefly to prevent any unwarrantable interfer- 
ence of the United States officers by the assurance of 
an intention ultimately to "unite this fair land with 
that of our birth." In order to obtain a courier, 
however, it was necessary to create an impression that 
his mission was to obtain powder. William Todd vol- 
unteered, and on his departure was especially charged 
by the commander not to ask for anything, but simply 
to bring back what might be given him ! No news 
was heard from the outside world during the first four 
days. The time was spent in translating and re- 
translating treaty and proclamation. " The men were 
divided into four night-guards of six men each, and 
into eight day-guards of three men each. One half 
of the men were at all times by day employed in camj) 
duty; the other half guarded and slept." As no one 
from abroad came within hailing distance from Sonoma, 
so it appears that no one was permitted to depart, not 
even Berreyesa and his companions. 

At sunset of Tuesday the 16th, not on the 17th as 
Ide states, Lieutenant Misroon arrived by boat from 
the Portsmouth at anchor at Sauzalito. He was sent 
by Captain Montgomery, as already recorded, at the 
request of Vallejo, to prevent, so far as the personal 
influence of the naval officers could go, any violence 
to families and non-combatants, being strictly charged 
to avoid any meddhng with the merits of the revolt. It 


is probable that Todd reached the ship before Misroon's 
departure, and returned to Sonoma with him ; but there 
is no allusion to him or his mission in the lieutenant's 
instructions or report. According to that report Mis- 
roon first called on Ide, and obtained from him not only 
a copy of his proclamation, but both a verbal and a 
written pledge to prevent all violence to the persons 
or property of peaceful inhabitants. Then he visited 
the alcalde, to whom he explained in writing his mis- 
sion, presenting at the same time the pledge obtained 
from Ide. And finally, he ''called upon the family of 
General Vallejo, and moderated their distress by the as- 
surances of safety for the general which I had received, 
and informing them that the prisoners were held as 
hostages." At his request, the Senora de Vallejo 
was permitted to send an open letter to her husband 
by her brother Julio Carrillo, who also carried an ac- 
count of Kosa's interview with Montgomery, and who, 
notwithstanding his passport, was thrown into prison 
on his arrival at New Helvetia. Misroon finally left 
Sonoma at noon on the 17th. His report of the next 
day contained copies of the proclamation and pledge, 
a description of the flag, a statement that the gar- 
rison consisted of about twenty-five men, and an 
expression of his opinion that not only was there no 
danger of outrages being committed, but that the 
Californians were very well contented with their 

^June 15th, 16th, Montgomery's instructions to Misroon. June 18th, M.'s 
report. Bear Flag Papers., MS., 46-57. The pledge given by Ide was as fol- 
lows: 'I pledge myself that I will use my utmost exertion to restrain and 
prevent the men in arms under my command (all of whom present acknowl- 
edge my authority and approve the measure of forbearance and humanity) 
from perpetrating any violence, or in any manner molesting the peaceable in- 
habitants, in person or pi'operty, of Cal. while we continue in arms for the 
liberty of Cal. Wm B. Ide, commander. Sonoma, June 17, 1846.' In a let- 
ter of June 19th, from Leidesdorff to Larkin, Larkin's Doc, MS., iv. 167, he 
describes Misroon's visit; says it was partly due to Todd's anival; that all was 
found in perfect order at Sonoma; and tells an anecdote of one of the insurgents 
being promptly fined $30 for shooting ahorse that kicked him! According to 
the Hist. Bear Flag, Misroon ' stated that Capt. Montgomery was in ex- 
pectation of important news from Mexico, and that in the event of war he 
would place all the resources of his ship and half of his men under Gen. Ide's 
command'! Ford simply says that Misroon arrived and 'complimented the 
party for their orderly conduct.' Bear Flag BevoL, MS., 15. 


Ide, ignoring altogether Vallejo's messenger and 
the true nature of Misroon's mission, as well as his 
efforts at mediation and the documents which he ob- 
tained and wrote, represents that officer as having 
come with Todd, and in consequence of his message, 
to bring and explain a letter from Montgomery, the 
letter and explanations being to the effect that no aid, 
not even a charge of powder, could be furnished; 
though on receipt of news that war had been declared, 
the captain would gladly put half his men under Ide's 
command, and cooperate with his ship against the 
common foe. Todd, greatly to the sorrow of Ide as 
he claims, had asked for powder, thus doing incalcu- 
able harm to the cause in some manner not very in- 
telligibly explained. Indeed, it is impossible to follow 
Ide in his ravings at this part of his narrative, as at 
some others. At night, Misroon was enthusiastic 
enough in the cause, offering to aid in circulating the 
proclamation. But next morning a change had come 
over his mind. He had been talking with the garri- 
son; it was thought best not to issue any proclama- 
tion; and the lieutenant even spoke of finding some 
way to relieve the insurgents from their 'disagreeable 
situation.' Ide was in a state of terrible anxiety. 
Evidently Misroon had heard something of current 
charges against the commander. *'He had been 
charged by Captain Fremont with being a Mormon, 
and his scheme was denounced as an artifice to betray 
the whole country into the hands of the Mormons. 
And it was known that most of the garrison believed 
the foul slander."^ But the lieutenant was persuaded 

^Several early Califomians speak of Ide as a Mormon, but there is nothing 
authoritative on the subject. Many confounded him, I think, with Orson 
Hyde, and possibly this was the only foundation for the charge of Mormon - 
ism. In the Oregon Spectator, July 23, 184G, in connection with his procla- 
mation, Ide is said to be a Mormon, one of 'Jo Smith's 12 apostles,' and 
the query is raised whether the promises alluded to had been made to the set- 
tlers as Americans or as Mormons. Ide docs not make it quite clear whether 
the ' foul slander ' was the charge of being a Mormon, or that of being engaged 
in a scheme to win Cal. for that sect, or both. It does not matter whether 
lie was a Mormon or a Methodist. The silence of his biographer, and the 
peculiar manner of his own references to the subject, leave some doubt as to 
the truth. 


to rearl the proclamation; it conquered him; he read 
it aloud to the garrison; all approved it; "joy and 
animation were kindled in every heart;" triumph was 
assured; "the battle's won; we'll triumph still, in 
spite of fears of Mormonism!" Of course it is not to 
be believed that Ide's statement is true, and that Mis- 
roon thus openly gave his support to the insurgents. 
Fanaticism closely verging on insanity is here and 
there indicated by the commander's writings. 

On June 18th a new proclamation was written, 
though Ide mentions only the copying of the old one, 
and was sent, together with a document bearing the 
signature of Alcalde Berreyesa, to be circulated with 
translations, both of this and of the original proclama- 
tion, south of the bay. A man named Booker, Boker, 
or Brooker, was chosen as messenger; and a week 
later he posted the documents at Monterey. I give 
them in a note.^ This second proclamation was much 

* * A proclamation. All persons who will remain peaceable shall in no wise 
be molested or injured. The commander of the company of soldiers now in 
possession of Sonoma promises on his word of honor to all the Califomians 
who do not take up arms against him peace and security, and in case any of 
the commander's people should in any wise injure any person who is not con- 
cerned, on application being made to the above mentioned authority, the of- 
fender or offenders shall be punished, the party injured not having taken up 
arms. The commander wishes to establish a good government for the prompt 
administration of justice, and with strict attention to individual rights and 
liberties, and not with the intention of molesting or permitting to be molested 
any person on account of their religious opinions. Tlie new government will 
toil indefatigably to the end of acquiring everything that may be beneficial to 
the country. This government will reduce the marine duties three or four 
parts in a thousand (?). It will defend its rightful intentions, with the favor 
of God and the valor of its adherents. The government of the country has 
ordered us to retire the same way we came, and as this is impossible on ac- 
count of our poverty, we have determined to make this country independent, 
and to establish a system of government that will be more favorable to us 
than such a dangerous and long road back. I order that this be published 
with a translation, likewise that of the 15th of the present month in English 
and in Spanish. William B. Ide, commander in Sonoma, June 18, 1846.' 

'The 14th day of the present month this present commander took posses- 
sion of the town of Sonoma, and up to this date there has not been the least 
disorder, there having been nothing taken but arms, ammunition, and horses; 
and for whatever else they may have required they have solicited it of indi- 
viduals, under a promise of payment in full value the moment the government 
is properly installed in the republic of California, which they are determined 
to do. Josu S. Berreyesa, 1st alcalde in Sonoma.' 

These doc. are found in Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 72; Sawyer's Doc, 
MS., 53-4, 59-60, with a memorandum by Larkin that they were found posted 


more moderate in its tone than the first, the writer 
omitting all the former false statements but one, and 
confining himself for the most part to promises of re- 
form in the government. The earlier document had 
been intended mainly for foreign settlers, and for effect 
in the outside world; while this one was for the Cal- 
ifornians. Ide tells us that it "was written and re- 
written, and sent as far as San de Angelos," causing 
more than half of Castro's army at Santa Clara to de- 
sert within three days ! 

Between the departure of Misroon, on Wednesday 
the 17th, and the arrival of Fremont, on Thursday 
the 25th, in addition to a few minor events confusedl}'- 
recorded by Ide and Ford, there were two about which 
much has been written ; though both, so far as details 
are concerned, are still involved in some obscurity. 
The first was the killing of Cowie and Fowler, and 
the second a fight between Ford and Joaquin de la 
Torre. On the 18th or 19th, Fowler and Thomas 
Cowie were sent by Ide to obtain a keg of powder 
from Moses Carson at the Fitch rancho on Russian 
River. Disregarding the advice of Ide and Ford, they 
are said to have neglected all precautions, and to have 
followed the main road. Before reaching their desti- 
nation they were captured by a party of Californians 
under Juan N. Padilla and Ramon Carrillo. These 
men, twenty or thirty in number, had been for some 
days ranging through the country, awaiting develop- 
ments at Sonoma, and expecting reenforcements from 
Castro. Padilla was a Mexican barber of no influence 
or standing whatever, and Carrillo was a young Cali- 

on one of his buildings on the morning of the 27th. This had been done by 
Boker of Me. or N. H. , who was one of the original party that took Sonoma, 
and who had come south to raise a force at Sta Cruz, etc. He said that Ide 
was living in Leese's house; and that the party intended to insist on Fremont 
coming forward openly to take command, else they would either organize 
without him or break up and retire from the contest. Ide in his letter to 
Wam bough mentions the alcalde's letter and the praclamation as having been 
sent by Brooker, though he implies that it was the original proclamation. 
Tustin, Recoil, MS., 9, mentions a Henry Booker living on the Sacramento in 
184G, and this may have been the messenger in question. 



fornian not noted for his good qualities. The compan}? 
was composed mostly of wild and irresponsible young 
fellows, and included several desperate characters; but 
so far as can be known, they had committed no hostil- 
ities on the ranchos round about, as they might easily 
have done. It was near Santa Rosa that the two 
Americans were captured, under circumstances of 
which nothing is known. They were killed by their 
captors, and they are said to have been mutilated in 
a most horrible manner. Some state, without details or 
known authority, that their remains were found later. 
A noted desperado named Bernardino Garcia, or 'four- 
lingered Jack,' afterward described the details of the 
murder, representing the prisoners as having been tied 
to trees, stoned, and cut to pieces, one of them having 
his broken jaw dragged out with a reata. His version, 
or so much of it as could decently be put in print, has 
been the current one ever since. That the Califor- 
iiians, as a body, or their leaders could have committed 
so horrible a deed it is impossible to conceive. In the 
absence of positive original evidence to the contrary, 
I choose to believe that Cowie and Fowler were killed 
in an altercation, in an attempt to escape, or by an 
individual desperado. Testimony, as the reader will 
see, is vague and contradictory. This affair, however, 
did much to strengthen the insurgent cause, forcing 
the settlers through fear to take refuge with their 
families at Sonoma. ^^ 

^° The version given by Garcia was printed in the Monterey Californiar , 
Sept. 12, 1846; was repeated in Bryant's What I Saw in Cal., 291-2; and has 
often been reproduced in the papers of later times. Some additional horrors, 
from an unknown source, were given in the S. F. Alta, July 31, 1853; and 
repeated in Lancey's Cruise, 61-2. Vallejo, Hist. Cal., MS., v. 121-3, fol- 
lowed by Alvarado, Hist. Cal., MS., v. 204-5, desirous of course to clear 
Carrillo, his wife's brother, from the charge, states that the leaders had no 
idea of putting the men to death; but while all were holding a council as to 
what should be done with the prisoners, who were left tied to trees outside, 
Garcia, a blood-thirsty villain, the terror of the whole region, fearing that they 
would be released, went out and killed them with his dagger, and returned 
to boast of his act. This version is at least more plausible than the other. 
On Aug. 26, 1846, Ramon Carrillo made a sworn statement before Judge 
Santiago E. Argiiello at S. Diego about the northern campaign. He stated 
that before the capture of Cowie and Fowler two other prisoners had been 
taken; tb.?t the Bear party had seized the horses at Padilla's rancho; and also 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 11 


Ide claims to have made, apparently just after the 
departure of Cowie and Fowler, a reconnoissance with 
ten men for the purpose of protecting the families of 
settlers, and to have discovered a party of twenty-five 
Californians, who took alarm and fled, notwithstand- 
ing the efforts made to approach them unobserved. 
This expedition may or may not explain the pursuit 
mentioned by Ramon Carrillo, and the shot fired at 
the retreating Californians. At any rate, Ide was 
convinced ''that any attempt to get a fight, just for 

that the Bear Flag men had pursued Mariano Elizalde and shot a bullet 
through his hat. Carrillo took the two men and delivered them to Padilla, 
who, against his advice and that of others, insisted on having them shot. 
Four men under a corporal were sent to shoot and bury them. Next day 
Carrillo was sent to report the afiair to Castro, who approved what had been 
done. Original document found by Benj. Hayes in 1856, in S. Diego, Archive-^, 
MS.; see S. Diego Index, MS., 93; Hayes' Notes, 268; Id., Scrap-hooks, Cat. 
Notes, iv. 124-5. But in 1864, during the excitement caused by Ramon Car- 
rillo's death at the hands of vigilantes, Don Julio, his brother, published a 
card in the Sta Rosa Democrat, June 4, 1864, denying that Ramon had any- 
thing to do with the murder of 1846, or that he knew anything of the capture 
until after the men were killed. He claimed to have proofs of this. See also 
Sonoma Co. Hist., 107-8. In a letter of July 16th to Montgomery, Grigsby 
says, * We have found the two men who were lost on the Sta Rosa farm, hor- 
ribly mangled.' He names, as concerned in the murder, Ramon Mesa, 
Domingo Mesa, Juan Padilla, Ramon Carrillo, and Bernardino Garcia, all 
now believed to be south of the bay; and, apparently. Bias Angelino, in 
prison; Francisco Tibian (?), Ignacio Valenzuela, Juan Peralta, Juan Soleto (?), 
Inaguen (?) Carrillo, Mariano Miranda, Francisco Garcia, Ignacio Stiggere (?), 
all in the north. By Montgomery's letters of July 18th, 20th, it appeal's 
that * four-fingered Jack ' was in prison at Sonoma. War with Mex. , Repts, 
etc.. Operations of U. S. Naval Forces, 1846-7, p. 25-9. In the Sta Rosa Demo- 
crat, Aug. 8, 1874; Sonoma Co. Hist., 107, etc., it is stated that the remains 
were buried where they fell, about two miles north of Sta Rosa, on the farm 
l>elonging in 1874 to John Underbill, and later to Geo. Moore. Ide, Biog. 
Sketch, 167-8, says the men were sent to Dr Bale's place for the powder. 
' They were discovered and captured without resistance, having trusted the 
promise of the enemy that if they would give up their arms they should re- 
ceive no harm.' He says they started on the 19th. Ford, Bear Flag, MS., 
16-17, says it was on the 18th; and that the news was brought back by Sergt 
Gibson, who was sent out on the 20th. Baldridge, Days of '4^, MS., 57-8, 
heard of no definite proof that the bodies were mutilated. He says that Padilla, 
on returning to Sonoma after the war, was nearly killed by one of the Bear Flag 
men. Coronel, Cosas de Cal., MS., 155-60, gives a long account of the attack 
on Padilla in a saloon at Sonoma, the writer being present at the occurrence. 
He says that both Padilla and Carrillo assured him they were not guilty as 
charged. Knight, Statement, MS., 7-11, tells us that Cowie and*Fowler left 
Sonoma against the advice of their friends in a spirit of bravado. Gomez, Lo 
Que Sabe, MS., 80-4, claims that Padilla confessed the mutilation of the vic- 
tims. Several state that the two men were on their way to Bodega when 
captured. I do not deem it necessary to give a long list of references to 
authorities which merely mention this affair. It would include nearly every 
one touching on the revolution. 



a sample of what could be done, so as in the main to 
avoid bloodshed, could not be effectual unless the enemy 
were allowed an advantage of five to one; and even 
then a retreat must be feigned" ! Soon it was learned 
that Todd also had been captured through the treach- 
ery of a guide emploj^ed to conduct him to the 
coast.^^ Ford tells us, being confirmed in this particu- 
lar by Carrillo's testimony already cited, that two 


Region North of Bat. 

others were taken prisoners at about the same time 
as Cowie and Fowler. Suspecting that the four had 
been captured, Ford, on the night of the 20th, sent 
Sergeant Gibson with four men to Fitch's rancho. 
Obtaining the powder, but no news, Gibson started 

"Ide's letter to Wambough, in Id.y Biog. Sketch, 164-70. In the Hist. 
Bear Flag, it is stated that Todd's mission was to carry to the coast a letter 
jvhich had arrived from Fremont on the 19th. 


back, and near Santa Rosa was attacked by a small 
party of Mexicans, one of whom was wounded, and 
another brought captive to Sonoma. It was from him 
that information was first obtained about the murder. ^^ 
It is agreed by all that from about the 19th, the in- 
surgent force rapidly increased, amounting within a 
few days to about one hundred men; that many fam- 
ilies were brought into Sonoma for protection; and 
that Grigsby returned about the 21st to be put in com- 
mand of the rifle company. Ide also found time, as 
he says, to reconstruct somewhat his financial system 
so as to furnish rations to all; and to provide for the 
future by promising at least a square league of choice 
land to every man who had not already that quantity, 
resolving^ at the same time that the missions should 
be considered public properly, except so much as had 
been properly vested in the several churches! 

This brings us to the second prominent subject to 
which I have alluded, namely, Lieutenant Ford's cam- 
paign against the Californians. Particulars about it 
will be found, as in all that occurred in these days, 
unsatisfactory. It was on the morning of June 23d ^* 
that Ford left the fort with seventeen or eighteen 
volunteers.^* His purpose was to rescue the prison- 
ers. Reports were current that Castro was crossing 
the bay with his main force. The danger of an at- 
tack on the garrison, and the less apparent danger that 
a larger party w^ould cause the death of the prisoners, 
are the reasons given by Ide for not sending more 
men or taking command himself; and he also repeats 
at some length his orders, doubtless for the most part 

^"^ Ford's Bear Flag lievoL, MS., 16-18. 

13 He calls it the 22d himself, but there is some evidence that he is wrong. 

'*Ide says there were 18 besides the leader; Ford, 17; the common version 
has it 22; Baldridge thinks there were 10; and the Californians talk of 50 or 
GO. Baldridge agrees with Ide that one in every five was chosen, all wishing 
to go; and he gives an amusing account of the selection, and of the success- 
ful efforts of one Badger Smith to join the party against the wishes of most, 
and in spite of the fact that the lucky number of 5 did not fall to his lot. 
Ford and Swift made some changes in the men after the first division. Bald- 
ridge was one of those who remained behind; but he gives the best account 
extant of the expedition in many of its phases. JJavs of '46. MS., 58-71. 


imaginary. Ford was not very friendly to the com- 
mander, and generally ignores his authority in his nar- 
rative. It does not appear that there was an expec- 
tation of meeting any foe but the band of Padilla and 
Carrillo; and the march was directed tow^ard Santa 
Rosa, under the guidance, as Ford says, of the pris- 
oner taken by Gibson. It w^as found on arrival that 
the Californians had abandoned their camp, though 
they had left a few muskets in a house nearby, which 
were destroyed. Follow^ing the trail at sunset, the 
'Bears' reached Padilla's rancho, and learned from an 
Indian that the enemy would probably camp near the 
laguna of San Antonio. The pursuers spent the 
night at a point some half a mile from the laguna; 
<and in the morning 'charged' upon the place, mak- 
ing prisoners of three or four men who were found 
there. Thence, after obtaining breakfast and chang- 
ing horses, they directed their course toward San 
Rafael, and before long came suddenly upon the Cal- 

Meanwhile Castro had sent one of his three divi- 
sions, fifty or sixty men, under Joaquin de la Torre, 
across from San Pablo to San Quintin, where they 
had landed in the evening of the 23d, and proceeded 
to San Rafael. With part of his men Torre contin- 
ued his march by night, and having been joined by 
Padilla's company from Santa Rosa, encamped early 
in the morning with about fifty men at Olompali, or 
Camilo's rancho, about midw^ay between San Rafael 
a.nd Petaluma, where he was found by the 'Bears' in 
the forenoon of the 24th, and where the fight oc- 
curred. The meeting at this point was a surprise to 
both parties. The Californians were eating a late 
breakfast at the house, when an alarm was given that 
the Americanos were attacking the corral. Ford, on 
coming in sight of the rancho, made a charge upon it, 
only a few^ men being in sight, with a view to repeat- 
ing the affair of San Antonio, and especially of secur- 
ino- a larofe band of horses that were seen in the cor- 


ral. He knew nothing of Torre's force, and even if 
the place were garrisoned, expected to meet only Pa- 
dilla's company, twenty-five at the most. Those in 
sight hurriedly retired behind a clump of trees; and 
Ford, on reaching the corral and the trees, was sur- 
prised to see at the house near by an armed force of 
forty-six. The Bears were ordered to dismount and 
take refuge behind the trees, where, concealed by the 
underbrush, they awaited an attack with their rifles 
ready. The Califoruians made a charge, but at the 
first discharge of the rifles Alferez Manuel Cantua 
was killed, and Agaton Ruiz was badly wounded. 
Torre's men retreated, firing from their saddles in a 
random way; and the firing was continued for some 
time at long range on both sides, no harm being 
done to the Americans, but several of the Califor- 
uians probably receiving slight wounds.^^ Presently 

*^ The earliest account of the aflfair that I have found is that given in a 
letter of the next day, June 25th, from a correspondent, ' Far West,' and 
printed in the Honolulu Friend, Dec, 1, 1846. ' The first blood shed in battle 
ill Cal. flowed yesterday on the plains of Sonoma.' Twenty revolutionists at- 
tacked and defeated 77 Californians, killing 2, wounding 2, and losing 2. 
Capt. Montgomery, in a letter to Larkin of July 2d, tells the story briefly. 
Fifteen insurgents attacked by 70 Calif orniaus, who surprised them just as 
they had put their horses in a corral, but were defeated, losing 4 in killed and 
wounded. Larkbi's Doc, MS., iv. 192. July 4th, Larkin to U. S. consul at 
Honolulu. Torre, driving ahead extra horses, came suddenly upon 15 or 20 
men of Ide's party; both tired and parted, the foreigners carrying ofl" the extra 
horses, losing a Canadian, named Francis Young, and an American, while 
the Californian lost Cantua, Ruiz, and Isidoro. Id., Off. Corresp., MS., i. 
125. July 8th, Larkin to Steams. Represents the two parties as having come 
unexpectedly upon each other, fired, and i-etreated — the Americans into a cor- 
ral; while Torre — seeing that he had but 60 men against 15 — tore off his 
shoulder-straps, and did not deem himself safe until half a mile out in the 
bay. Id., Doc, MS., iv. 202. 

In a deposition made by Ramon Carrillo before Judge Argiiello on Aug. 
26, 1846, Hayes' Scrap-boot^, Cal. Notes, iv. 125, he said: 'Next day [after 
the shooting of Cowie and Fowler] Padilla sent me to Sta Clara to report to 
Castro what had happened. Then Castro approved the act. Padilla in his 
report urged Castro to send him reenforcements and hasten his march; there- 
fore he sent 50 men under Joaquin de la Torre. We crossed to the other side, 
and had a meeting w^ith a party of foreigners at Noiipali. After joining 
Padilla I proposed to him to set free his prisoners, and he did so before the 
fight. Then the foe fell upon us, all being under the command of Torre, who 
ordered us to mount and fire; but seeing that he could gain no advantage, 
since most of his men ran away, he ordered the rest to retire. We formed 
again in th« plain, where we were not attacked; and then we retreated to San 
Rafael, with one man killed and two wounded.' 

The earliest printed account was that in the Monterey Californian, Aug. 
15, 1846; and another appeared in the same paper of Sept. 12, 1846. The 


Torre's force disappeared in the direction of San Ra- 
fael, and the Bears came out from their cover. They 
attempted no pursuit, but secured such horses as they 
needed, and returned to Sonoma, where they arrived 
in the afternoon of the same day, confident that they 
had killed at least eight or ten of the foe. Though 
Ford says nothing of the American prisoners, one of 

latter was reprinted in the S. F. Californian, June 5, 1847; was given in sub- 
stance in Bryant's What I Saw in Cat, 292-3; and has been often repeated in 
the newspapers. These accounts represent the forces engaged as 22 or 18 
against 85, and the number of killed as 8; the Americans firing 18 or 20 shots, 
and the Californians 200. Ford is said to have charged on them with several 
men, * in such a manner as to draw them to the edge of the wood, where the 
remainder of the force was stationed.' The prisoners were rescued. 

In my text I have followed Ford's Bear Flag, MS., 18-22, with some slight 
modifications derived from Baldridge's Days of 'Jfi, MS., 58-71, and other 
sources. Ford says that after leaving guards for his 5 prisoners and 40 horses, 
he had only 14 effective men; that the Mexicans took his movement to the 
M'oods as a retreat, and immediately charged; that his first fire killed 7 and 
the second volley 3; and that finally, the enemy being out of range, he took 
his prisoners and 400 horses, and returned to Sonoma. He says nothing of 
the rescued American prisoners. Baldridge gives a full narrative from the 
story told by the men on their return. He says they were scattered and 
careless, not expecting to find any foe at the rancho. Their charge was on the 
corral, to prevent the horses being turned loose; but fortunately the wood was 
at hand for their protection. Those that were behind had a narrow escape, 
and might have been cut off had the Californians acted promptly. The latter 
renewed their fire from a hill out of nmsket-range, but the rifles did some 
slight execution. Burgess, Williams, and Badger Smith were among those 
behind the main force, the latter distinguishing himself by his desperate 
courage. Todd escaped from the rancho house and joined his friends while 
the fight was going on, his companion, an Englishman, refusing to make the 
attempt. Todd claimed to have saved his life while a captive, solely by 
threatening the retaliation of his fellows on Vallejo and others at Sonoma. 
They did not take the horses, or even go over the battle-field, or visit the 
house. Swift was in reality the leading spirit of the enterprise. Lancey, 
Cruise, 64, follows also Ford and Baldridge through the medium of newspaper 

Luis German, Sucesos, MS., 18-24, is the only native Californian who gives 
a tolerably accurate account of the affair, in which he took part. He thinks, 
liowever, that there were 40 or 50 Americans, and says they fired from the cor- 
ral as well as from the wood. The officers deemed it impossible with their es- 
copetas and lances and horses to defeat men fighting from cover with rifles; 
and therefore ordered a retreat. Such other Californians as mention the mat- 
ter give no details, contenting themselves with simply stating that Torre was 
surprised and defeated by the Bears, generally overstating the force of the lat- 
ter, and several of them severely criticising Torre. Osio, Hist. Cal. , MS. , 
471-3, thinks Ford was thinking of surrender when Torre ordered a retreat! 
See also Castro, Rel., MS., 195-9; Id., Servicios, MS.; Alvarado, Hist. Cal., 
MS., V. 199-200; Fernandez, Cosas de Cal, MS., 133-5; Amador, Mem., MS., 
166-7; Bernal, Mem., MS., 3-4; Galindo, Apuntes, MS., 55-6; Flores, Rem- 
erdos, MS., 9-10; Gomez, Lo Que Sabe, MS., 283-4; Pinto, Apunt., MS., 100. 
Vallejo, Hist. Cal, MS., v. 129-33, tells us that Ford, finding the Califor- 
nians taking their siesta, fortified themselves in a corral and opened fire upon 
the sleeping foe! After a stubborn resistance of an hour and a half, in which 


them, Todd, seems to have been rescued, and perhaps 
the other also. This fight at OlompaH reflected no 
credit on Torre or his men, nor discredit on Ford and 
liis little company; yet the cowardice of the one and 
tlie heroic deeds of the other have been greatly ex- 
ao^orerated in current accounts. 

tjvo Americans and one Calif ornian fell, the latter retreated. Ruiz was taken 
captive, ordered shot, and left with five bullets in him, but finally recovered 
after treatment on the Portsmouth! Then the Bears sacked the rancho and 
beat to death the venerable Ddmaso Rodriguez before the face of his daughters 
and granddaughters ! The same Rodriguez, however, on June 28th renders 
an account of cattle and other property taken from his rancho by Fremont's 
men, to the value of §1,243. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 227. 

Ide, Biog. Sketch, 170-4, asserts that Ford rendered a report to him as fol- 
lows: *I have done exactly as you ordered. We have whipped them, and 
that without receiving a scratch. We took their whole band of horses, but 
owing to the fact that about one half the men (?) retreated with all possible 
haste, I did not think best to encumber ourselves; so we only picked out each 
one a good horse. ' ' Very well done ! I did not order you to bring the horses, ' 
etc., was Ide's reply. In the Hist. Bear Flag Re vol., we read: ' Lieut L. H. 
Ford was despatched in pursuit of a company of Mexicans, and found them; 
they proved to be 200 in number; gave them a fight, killed 8 and wounded 13; 
after which they fled. This victory gave a decided character to the revolu- 
tion, and convinced the Spaniards that it was not prudent to attempt the cap- 
ture of any more prisoners.' Fowler, Bear Party, MS., 4-5, says that the 
men were with difficulty restrained from plundering the ranchos. In the 8. 
F. Californian, May 29, 1847, it is explained that the number of killed was in- 
correctly estimated from the riderless horses. Later it was learned that only 
2 were killed and 2 wounded. Martin, Narr., MS., 27-8, claims to have 
been one of the party that had the fight, under the command of Gibson. Gil- 
lespie, FremonVs Cat. Claims, 25-9, mentions the skirmish, in which 24 set- 
tlers had defeated 70 Mexicans, killing 1, wounding 4, and rescuing 2 pris- 
oners. Boggs, in Napa Register, April 13, 1872, tells us that the wounded 
Californian (Ruiz) was shot through the lungs by Swift while trying to creep 
up a gully toward the Bears. He recovered, being treated on board a U. 
8. vessel; and the writer has often seen him and Swift drink together in later 
times, the wound being exhibited and the circumstances being narrated. 
Boggs represents the Californians as using cannon. The sec. of war in his re- 
port of Dec. 5th, 29th Cong. 2il Sess., fl. Ex. Doc. 4, P- 51, also says that Torre 
on his retreat lost 9 pieces of artillery! A writer in the Napa Reporter, Oct. 
12, 1872, names Grigsby as the commander. See also mention in TuthUV-^ 
I list. Cat, 172; Sac. Union, April 27, 1855; and many of the recently pub- 
lished county histories. Tuthill, Smucker, and others, besides speaking of 
the capture of cannon and of transports, attribute Ford's campaign to Fremont 
or to men despatched by him. Fremont himself implied as much in his cor- 
respondence. Ford accuses a Frenchman — an old mountain man known by 
most of the party, who lived near the town, apparently Beaulieu, one of Frc^- 
mont's old party — of having acted as a spy, being allowed to pass in and out 
of the fort freely. On returning from Olompali, Ford found a wounded horse 
in Vallejo's corral, left there by the Frenchman, who had reported the fight, 
but could not give a clear account of his own whereabouts and actions. He 
was arrested and put in irons. 




Complaints at Sonoma — Ford's Letter — Fremont on the Sacramento- 
Forced TO Act — March to Sonoma — The San Rafael Campaign- 
Murder OF Berreyesa and the Haro Brothers — A Dastardly Act 
BY Fremont and his Men — Torre's Ruse — The Insurgents Sent to 
Sonoma — A False Alarm — Spiking the Guns of San Francisco- 
Capture OF Robert Ridley — Fourth of July at Sonoma — Military 
Reorganization — Change of Administration — Fremont Assumes 
the Chief Command — Ide's Version — The Battalion Organized- 
Fremont's Designs — News from Monterey — Bibliography of thb 
Bear Flag Revolt. 

Some days before starting on his expedition against 
the Californians, Lieutenant Ford had sent a messen- 
ger to the Sacramento, with an announcement that 
Castro was said to be crossing the bay with the inten- 
tion of attacking Sonoma. Ford himself tells us that 
his letter was directed to Merritt, requesting him to 
raise a force and come to the garrison's relief Ide 
states, however, that the message was addressed to 
Fremont, informing that officer ''that the men of the 
garrison had no confidence in the ability of Mr Ide to 
manage matters at the fort at Sonoma, and that they 
were in great danger of being betrayed into the hands 
of the Spaniards," since the commander Jiad erred in 
making conditions of peace with natives of the region. 
It is doubtless true that Ide was regarded by many 
of the insurgents as too much a man of theories and 
dreams for his actual position, a man who regarded 
himself as a great leader engaged in founding a re- 



public, rather than a fihbuster chief. At any rate, he 
was deemed eccentric, and was not popular. 

Meanwhile Fremont was waiting and watching. 
Possibly, he thought, it might not be necessary for 
him to interfere at all; or Castro, by marching directly 
against him, might give his interference the desired 
form of self-defence, or bring about a state of war be- 
tween Mexico and the United States. But on the 
same day, June 20th, there arrived Hensley and Read- 
ing from Marsh's, and John Neal from Sonoma, with 
news that the attack was to be directed against the 
insurgents; and in fulfilment of promises which, as 
already explained, he had made, Fremont felt himself 
called upon to act. On Sunday he came down to Sut- 
ter's Fort to make some final arrangements respecting 
the garrison, and to leave such part of his impedhnenta 
as was not needed. Next day he returned to his camp 
on American River, and on Tuesday, the 23d, he 
started with his own company, and a reenforcement 
of settlers under Hensley, some ninety men in all, for 
Sonoma, where he arrived early in the morning of the 
25th. This was Fremont's first open cooperation 
with the insurgents; though a month later, when the 
insurrection seemed to have been successfully merged 
in the conquest, he virtually claimed in his letters 
that all had been done by him or under his orders.^ 

On June 26th, Fremont, reenforced by Ford's men 
and others from the constantly increasing garrison, 

^ Fremont to Benton, and B. to pres. Niles' Reg., Ixxi. 173-4, 19L I do 
not give references for Fremont's march from >Sac. to Sonoma, as there are 
neither doubts nor details to be presented. Ide, letter to Wambough, tells 
us that Frdmont at first criticised and ridiculed the proclamation and all that 
had been done; but very soon pretended to approve all, except that his own 
grierances at Castro's hands had not been added to the list named in the proc- 
lamation, which he complimented without limit as to style and matter! But 
Frcimont did not yet propose to take any part in the revolution, desiring sim- 
ply to visit the bay as an explorer, and to accompany the insurgent army 
under Ford ! Ide's idea was that Fremont had expected Castro to scatter the 
insurgents and then attack him, a neutral party; that he came to Sonoma and 
to San Rafael still intent only on getting himself attacked and thus provoking 
a war, and that he finally pretended to join the movement when all the work 
had been done, merely to appropriate to himself the glory; in fact, that he 
used the Bears as cat's-paws to get his chestnuts from the fire — and there was 
certainly a color of truth in all this. 


which was 75 strong after his departure, marched 
with about 130 men to San Kafael. Here Torre and 
Padilla were understood to be; and hither Castro 
might be expected to come with the rest of his army. 
No enemy, however, was found to oppose a peaceable 
occupation of the mission buildings, where the insur- 
gent force remained for about a week. The period 
was for the most part an uneventful one. Castro did 
not deem it best to cross the bay, and the exact 
whereabouts of Torre could not be ascertained. 

On Sunday, the 28th, the only blood of Fremont's 
campaign was spilled, and that under such circum- 
stances as to leave a stain of dishonor upon the com- 
mander and some of his men. A boat was seen 
crossing from San Pablo. It contained four men, 
and was apparently steering for a landing at or near 
Point San Pedro, several miles from the mission. 
Kit Carson was sent with two or three companions 
to intercept them. After starting, Carson turned 
back — so testifies Jasper O'Farrell, an eye-witness — 
to ask Fremont, ''Captain, shall I take those men 
prisoners?" The reply, given with a wave of the 
hand, was, ''I have no room for prisoners." Then 
they advanced, alighted from their horses, and from 
a distance of about fifty yards deliberately shot three 
of the strangers, who had landed and were approach- 
ing the mission. The three victims were the twin 
brothers Francisco and Pamon de Haro, aged about 
twenty, sons of a prominent citizen and former al- 
calde of San Francisco, and Jose de los Peyes Ber- 
reyesa, an old man who owned a rancho near Santa 
Clara. Two divisions of Castro's army being at San 
Pablo with the intention of crossing the bay as the 
other division had done, one of the Haro boys volun- 
teered to carry a message to Joaquin de la Torre, the 
message relating doubtless to details of the plan for 
crossing. The other boy wished to accompany his 
brother and share his risks ; and the old man Berrey- 
esa insisted on being permitted to cross with his 


nephews. His son was alcalde of Sonoma, reported 
to be a prisoner of the Osos; and the anxiety of a 
father and mother had impelled him to leave his 
home and seek an opportunity of visiting Sonooia. 
One of the Castros of San Pablo carried them over 
in his boat, left them at the landing, and returned; 
while the others started on foot for San Rafael, 
knowing nothing of its occupation by the insurgents. 
Their fate has been told.^ 

* Fremont, letter to Benton, Niks' Reg., Ixxi. 191, says simply: 'Three of 
Castro's party, having landed on the Sonoma side in advance, were killed 
near tlie beach; and beyond this there was no loss on either side.' Benton, 
Id., 174, mentions the killing of Cowie and Fowler, 'in return for which 
three of De la Torre's men being taken were instantly shot.' Gillespie, Fre- 
monCs Cal. Claims, 28, says that on the afternoon of the2Gtli ' letters were in- 
tercepted which disclosed their plans, and required De la Torre to send horses 
to the point the next morning to mount 80 men who would be sent over at 
that time. ' These letters, if there be no error, were probably those brought 
by Haro. Jasper O'Farrell, in the Los Angeles Star, Sept. 27, 1856, perhaps 
taken from another paper, besides narrating the facts of the muY-der as in my 
text, states that Carson claimed to have done the act unwillingly by Fre- 
mont's order. In the same paper is a letter from J. S. Berreyesa, in which, 
after narrating the circumstances of the killing, he states that the clothing of 
his dead father and cousins was stripped from their bodies by their murder- 
ers, and that Fremont refused to order the giving-up of his father's sarape, 
which one of the men was wearing, and which the son finally bought for $25. 
June 30th, Leidesdorfi" writes to Larkin of the shooting, which took place 
' day before yesterday. ' He names Sergt Manuel Castro as one of the killed. 
This report seems to have been current for a time. Larkin' 8 Doc, MS., iv. 
189. Rico, Mem., MS., 19-23, gives the most detailed account of the depart- 
ure of the messengers, Rico having been the ofl&cer immediately concerned in 
sending the messenger. The first news of what had happened was brought 
by Torre the next day. Ford is silent on this matter. Ide, in his letter to 
AVambough, Biog. Sketch, 190, says: ' The flying Spaniards drew lots among 
their number, and three men, prepared with letters (intended to deceive the 
Bears) in their boots, put themselves in the power of their pursuers, threw 
away their arms, and fell on their knees begging for quarter; but the orders 
were to take no prisoners from this band of murderers, and the men were 
shot, and never rose from the ground . . . One of the men declared with his 
dying breath that he expected death, that he came on purpose to die for the 
beneht of his countrymen'! Bidwell, Cal. in 1841-^, MS., 170, and several 
others name G. P. Swift as one of Carson's companions. Hargrave, Cal. in 
'40, MS., 8, thinks Carson and a Frenchman were alone responsible for the 
deed. Swasey, Fremont's devout admirer, Cal. '4^-6, MS., 10, thinks that 
' the firing was perfectly justifiable under the circumstances '! Fowler, Bear 
Party, MS., 5, who was present at the time, says that Carson and the Cana- 
dian, who were alone responsible, were drunk. Martin, Narr., MS., 29, who 
claims to have been the sentinel who first saw the boat, and one of the five who 
captured and shot the men, as well as Chas Brown, Early Events, MS., 25-G, 
who married a sister of the Haros, and several Californiane, state that the bodies 
of the victims were allowed to lie unburied where they fell for several days. 
Phelps, Fore and Aft, 280-90, seems to have originated the absurd story that 
on one of the men was found an order from Castro to Torre to kill every for- 
eigner lie could find, man, woman, and child; and this story has been re- 


The killing of Berreyesa and the Haros was a 
brutal murder, like the killing of Cowie and Fowler, 
for which it was intended as a retaliation. Its perpe- 
trators put themselves below the level of Garcia and 
Padilla. The Californians, or probably one desperado 
of their number, had killed two members of a band of 
outlaws who had imprisoned their countrymen, had 
raised an unknown flag, had announced their purpose 
of overthrowing the government, and had caused great 
terror among the people — the two men at the time of 
their capture being actively engaged in their unlawful 
service. In revenge for this act, the Bears deliber- 
ately killed the first Californians that came within their 
reach, or at least the first after their own strength 
became irresistible. The three victims were not mem- 
bers of Padilla's party, nor were they suspected of 
being such, nor charged with any offence.* As mes- 
sengers between Ca«tro and Torre, their mission was 
a perfectly legitimate one ; and so far as was known 
at the time of the shooting, they were not engaged in 
any public service whatever. They were in no sense 
spies, as has been sometimes implied. The statement 
that they brought orders to kill every man, woman, 
and child of the foreigners was an absurd fabrication ; 
but had it been true that such papers were found on 
them, or even had it been proved that they had been 
the very murderers of Cowie and Fowler, these facts 
would afford no justification to those who killed them, 
because such facts could not have been known until 
after their death. They were given no chance for 
defence or explanation, but killed in cold blood at long 
rifle-range. Viewed in its most favorable light, the 
act was one of cowardly vengeance. Members of the 

peated by Lancey, Cruise, 68, and copied from him in Marin Co. Hist. , 83, 
and several other works. The newspapers have often mentioned this afiair in 
connection with the famous Haro claim to lands in S. F. The Californians, 
as a rule, give an accurate account of this occurrence. See Castro, ReL, 
MS., 190-9; Alvarado, Hist. CaL, MS., v. 207-10; Vallejo, Hist. CaL, MS., 
V. 138-41; Berreyesa, Relacion, MS., 1-7; Bernal, Mem., MS., 1-3; Galindo, 
Apnntes, MS., 56; Sanchez, Notas, MS., 15; Juarez, Narrative, MS.; Ama-^ 
dor, Mem., MS., 167; Vallejo, Notas, MS., 115-16. 


Bear party, and apologists of their acts, have wisely 
had but little to say of* the matter, always refusing to 
go bej^ond vague generalities. Of course John C. 
Fremont, as commander of the insurgents, is to be held 
responsible for the murder. That he personally gave 
the order which led to the result depends on the tes- 
timony of one person, a man whose reputation for 
veracity was good. Injustice to Fremont, it is fair to 
say that the testimony was first publicly given during 
the political campaign of 1856, at a time when preju- 
dice was generally more potent than love of truth; 
but justice also requires me to call attention to the 
fact that Fremont has never, so far as I know, denied 
the accuracy of O'Farrell's assertion. 

Meanwhile scouting parties from the camp at San 
Rafael were trying to learn of Torre's whereabouts. 
They were not very successful; but late in the after- 
noon of the same day the messengers were shot they 
captured an Indian on whose person was found a let- 
ter in which Torre announced his intention of attack- 
ing Sonoma early the next morning. This letter, 
together with the one that had previously been inter- 
cepted, having been taken perhaps from Haro's dead 
body, making known Castro's plan of crossing before 
the hour of the proposed attack, caused Frdmont to 
fear that Ide's garrison was in danger;^ and he at 
once set out with nearly all his force, perhaps against 
the judgment of Ford and Gillespie, for Sonoma, 
where he arrived before sunrise on the 29th. There, 
also, if we may credit Ide's account, a letter had 
been intercepted, addressed to some of the natives, 
and disclosing the plan of attack. The citizens were 
in great terror, and wished to leave the town. This 
was not permitted; but as night came on they were 
allowed the jail as a shelter for the men, and Vallejo's 
house for the women and children. The garrison 
meanwhile made every preparation for defence; can- 

'July 30th, Leidesdorfif to Larkin also wrote that Torre was to move 
against Sonoma 'yesterday.' Larkin^s Doc.y MS., iv. 189. 


non, rifle, and musket were loaded and primed, and 
sentinels were posted. Just before dawn the ad- 
vanced sentries heard the distant tramp of horses. 
Clearly, the threatened attack was to be a reality. 
Without vouching for its accuracy, I quote Ide's 
melodramatic narrative of what followed. "Thus 
prepared, in less than one minute from the first 
alarm, all listened for the sound of the tramping 
horses — we heard them coming! — then, low down 
under the darkened canon we saw them coming! In 
a moment the truth flashed across my mind; the 
Spaniards were deceiving us! In a moment orders 
were given to the captains of the 18-pounders to re- 
serve fire until my rifle should give the word ; and, to 
prevent mistake, I hastened to a position a hundred 
yards in front of the cannon, and a little to the right- 
oblique, so as to gain a nearer view. *Come back; 
you will lose your life ! ' said a dozen voices. ^ Silence ! * 
roared Captain Grigsby; 'I have seen the old man in 
a bull-pen before to-day!' The blankets of the ad- 
vancing host flowed in the breeze. They had ad- 
vanced to within 200 yards of the place where I 
stood. The impatience of the men at the guns be- 
came intense, lest the enemy came too near, so as to 
lose the effect of the spreading of the shot. I made 
a motion to lay down my rifle. The matches were 
swinging. *My God! They swing the matches!' 
cried the well known voice of Kit Carson. 'Hold 
on, hold on!' we shouted, *'tis Fremont, 'tis Fremont!' 
in a voice heard by every man of both parties, we 
cried, while Captain Fremont dashed away to his left 
to take cover behind an adobe house; and in a mo- 
ment after he made one of his most gallant charges 
on our fort; it was a noble exploit; he came in a full 
gallop, right in the face and teeth of our two long 

It did not take long for Fremont to convince him- 
self that he had been outwitted; and after a hasty 

*Ide*8 Biog. Sketch, 187-90. 


breakfast he set out again for San Rafael, where he 
arrived within twenty-four hours of the time he left it 
— to learn that Torre had made good use of his time to 
recross the bay and rejoin Castro with all his original 
force, and such residents of the northern frontier as 
chose to accompany him. The wily Californian had 
written letters expressly intended to fall into the 
hands of the Osos, and thus facilitate his own escape. 
After retreating before twenty rifles, he had no wish 
to face two hundred. He left San Rafael just be- 
fore Fremont's first arrival; and, as Castro's force 
did not arrive, he soon began to consider his position 
a critical one. Facilities for crossing the bay w^ere 
so uncertain that it was not safe to be seen at any 
landing while the mission was occupied by the foe; 
therefore Don Joaquin feigned an advance into the 
interior toward Petaluma, and wrote the letters to be 
intercepted. The ruse was entirely successful ; and, 
Fremont's force having been sent to Sonoma, the Cali- 
fornians, to the number of 75 or 80, appeared at Sauza- 
lito in the morning of June 29th. Captain Richard- 
son had an old launch, or lighter, lying at anchor there, 
which he declined to lend, but which he permitted 
Torre's men to 'take by force;' and all were soon afloat. 
Wind and tide were not favorable, and for a long time 
they lay near the shore, in great fear lest Frdmont 
should return, and no less apprehensive of pursuit by 
the boats of the Portsmouth. Some were so frio^htened 
that they believe to this day that they were thus pur- 
sued. But long before the Bears had returned to 
San Rafael the Californians had landed at San Pablo, 
whence, with the other divisions of the 'grand army,' 
they marched next day to Santa Clara.® 

5 Luis German, Sucesos, MS., 18-24, gives the most connected and de- 
tailed account of Torre's escape. PVdmout, in his letter to Benton, followed 
by the set of authorities that obtained their infomiation from that letter, 
claims, in a general way, the credit of having driven Torre away, besides de- 
stroying his transports and spiking his cannon south of the bay, as will pres- 
ently be noticed. Gillespie, Fremont's Gal. Claim-s, 28, has the assurance to 
write: 'Capt. Fremont returned to Sonoma, leaving a force to protect San 
Raphael. This movement, executed with so much pi'omptness, alarmed De 


Having thus 'driven' Torre and his men away, 
Fremont and the Bears had no further opposition to 
fear north of the bay, and no reason to remain longer 
at San Rafael; yet before their departure for Sonoma 
two minor enterprises were undertaken, which, if they 
served no other purpose, figured somewhat attractively 
in reports of this grand campaign. On July 1st Fre- 
mont and Gillespie visited Phelps on board the ilfo.s- 
Gow, and having removed that gentleman's scruples by 
the assurance that war had really been declared, and 
that they were ''acting in obedience to orders of the 
United States government," obtained his cooperation 
for a movement on San Francisco. Phelps furnished 
his vessel's launch with a crew, going himself as pilot, 
to carry Fremont and about twenty of his men across 
to the old Castillo. Wading ashore through the surf, 
and boldly entering the fort, this band of warriors 
proceeded to spike the ten guns found there, and to 
wade back to the boat. In the absence of a garrison, 
with no powder, it is not surprising that, so far as can 
be known, not one of the ten cannon offered the 
slightest resistance. But the energies of the insur- 
gents were not exclusively directed against abandoned 
guns; for next day ten of their number, under Sem- 
ple, appeared in the streets of Yerba Buena, at noon, 

la Torre to such a degree that he fled with his command in the most cowardly 
manner to Sausalito, where he stole Mr Richardson's launch, and escaped 
across the bay'! Phelps, Fore and Aft, 286-92, was at Sauzalito at the 
time, in command of the Moscow, and he gives an inaccurate version of what 
occurred, which has, however, been considerably used by later writers. He 
says that Fremont sent him, Phelps, word that he would drive Torre to Sau- 
zalito that night, whence he could not escape without the 3Ioscow^s boats, 
Phelps proceeded to make all safe, and took the precaution to anchor farther 
out a launch lying near the beach, putting some provisions on board for Fre- 
mont's use! But when Torre arrived in the morning, a boat was mysteri- 
ously procured from Yerba Buena, and the launch was reached. Phelps in- 
formed the commander of the Portsmouth, but he declined to intercept the 
fugitives. Montgomery, writing to Larkin July 2d, Larhin's Doc, MS., iv. 
192, speaks of Torre as having been chased by Fremont, barely escaping by 
his good luck in finding a large freight boat. Ford, Bear Flag Revolution, 
MS. , 22-5, claims that he and Gillespie opposed the march to Sonoma. The 
Hist. Bear Flag agrees for the most part with Ide — naturally, as Ide was its 
chief author. It speaks of Castro having sent 200 men across the bay. Lar- 
kin, Off. Corresp., MS., i. 125, in a letter of July 4th to the U. S. consul at 
Honolulu, speaks of Torre's defeat, and of the trick by which lie escaped. 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 12 


and captured Robert Ridley, captain of the port, who 
was taken from his house and sent to New Helvetia. 
This was doubtless done at the instigation of Vice- 
consul Leidesdorff, who, as we have seen, had repeat- 
edly denounced Ridley and Hinckley as **more Mex- 
ican than the Mexicans themselves," in their opposi- 
tion to the Bear movement. Hinckley would doubt- 
less have shared Ridley's fate had he not died two 
days before. Obtaining such supplies as were to be 
found on the Moscow, together with cattle from the 
ranches of the region about San Rafael, Fremont re- 
turned with the whole insurgent force to Sonoma. 
Through Benton he ingeniously contrived, without 
quite committing himself to a falsehood, to create the 
impression among the people of the United States, 
not only that he had been in active command of the 
revolutionists from the first, but that finally, after de- 
feating Torre, he had driven him across the bay, spik- 
ing his cannon, destroying his transports, and break- 
ing up all communication between the north and south 
— thus making the whole campaign a brilliant suc- 

The 4th of July was celebrated at Sonoma by 
the burning of much gunpowder, reading of the 
declaration of independence, and a fandango in the 
evening. Fremont and his men returned from San 
Rafael that day, or more probably the evening be- 
fore; at any rate, in time to take part in the festivi- 
ties.^ Next day, though some say that also was on the 

•Fremont to Benton, and B. to pres., in Niles^ Heg., Ixxi. 173, 19L 
Montgomery, in two postscripts to a letter of July 2d to Larkin, mentions the 
spiking of the guns and capture of Ridley. Larkin^s Doc, MS., iv. 192. 
Phelps, Fore ana Aft, 285-92, gives the fullest account of the first affair — in 
fact, all we know of it, so far as details are concerned. See also BryanVs 
What I Saw in CaL, 294-6; TuthilVs Hist. CaL, 173-4; Lancey'a Cruise, 70, 
72; Upham's Life Fremont, 233-4; Yolo Co. Hist., 16. 

^ Fremont in his letter to Benton, and Gillespie in his testimony, say 
that they returned on the evening of the 4th ; but the latter speaks of the 
salutes fired during the day. According to the Jlist. Bear Flag, the return 
was on the 3d. Baldridge says that the declaration, a copy which the 
v.Titer had brought over the mountains, was read by Lieut Woodworth of 
the navy. 


4th, the people were called together to deliberate on 
matters of public importance. Respecting details of 
what was accomplished, our evidence is meagre and 
contradictory to a certain extent; but it is certain 
that a new military organization was effected, and 
that Fremont was put in command of the insurgent 
forces, Ide's authority terminating on that day. 
Frdmont himself says: ^'In the morning I called the 
people together and spoke to them in relation to the 
position of the country, advising a course of opera- 
tions which was unanimously adopted. California 
was declared independent, the country put under 
martial law, the force organized, and officers elected. 
A pledge, binding themselves to support these meas- 
ures and to obey the officers, was signed by those 
present. The whole was placed under my direction. 
Several officers from the Portsmouth were present at 
this meeting."^ William Baldridge claims to have 
been chairman of the meeting, and names John Bid- 
well as secretary.^ Bidwell tells us that Fremont — 
after a speech in which he expressed his willingness 
to cooperate, criticised some irregularities of the past, 
and insisted on implicit obedience — named Ide, Bead- 
ing, and the writer as a committee to report a plan 
of organization. Unable to agree, each made a re- 
port of his own, with the understanding that Gillespie 
should select one of the three. He chose Bidwell's, 
perhaps on account of its brevity. As presented by 
the author from memory, it was a simple agreement 
to render military service in support of independ- 

^F. to B. Niles* Reg., Ixxi. 191. Benton made some improvements on 
this as on other parts of the same letter as follows : ' The north side of the 
bay was now cleared of the enemy, and on July 4th Capt. Fremont called 
the Americans together at Sonoma, addressed them upon the dangers of 
their position, and recommended a declaration of independence, and war 
upon Castro and his troops as the only means of safety. The independence 
was immediately declared, and war proclaimed;' These statements were 
repeated in substance by the secretary of war, and by many other writers, 
some of whom go so far as to say that Fremont was elected governor ! 

^ Baldridge' s Days of '46, MS., G. 

'*"To be signed by all willing to prosecute the war already begun, to 


The document signed at Sonoma on July otli, so 
far as I know, is no longer extant; nor have we any 
written contemporary record of that day's transactions. 
Yet it appears clearly to me that no radical changes 
were effected in the plan of revolt; that nothing like 
a new declaration of independence was made; that 
there was no official act ionorinof what had been al- 
ready accomplished. It was simply the formal and 
public assumption by Fremont of a command which 
by most of the insurgents he had been expected to 
assume, or even deemed tacitly to hold from the first. 
He had virtually thrown off his mask of caution by 
his San Kafael campaign, and it was hardly possible, 
even had he desired it, to draw back now. Naturally 
he required pledges of obedience and discipline; and 
military reorganization was of course necessary for 
active operations against Castro. 

To one, however, William B. Ide, this day's doings 
were of no small import, since they put an end to all 
his greatness. He characterized them as "events and 
circumstances which changed the character of our 
enterprise, and presented California to the United 
States as a trophy of that species of conquest that 
wallows in the blood of murder, or of that ignoble 
traffic that makes the price of liberty the price of 
blood, instead of presenting the same fair land on 
terms of honorable compact and agreement, such as all 
the world can participate in without loss or dishonor, 
by the free, frank expression of voluntary consent and 
good- will of the parties." Ide regarded himself as the 
leader of the revolutionists, and as the founder of a 
republic. He moreover regarded the revolution as a 
complete success. In his eyes the triumph had al- 
ready been won; California had been wrested from 

wit: the undersigned agree to organize and to remain in service as long as 
necessary for the purpose of gaining and maintaining the independence of 
California. ' This was signed by all at Sonoma, including Fremont's men, 
and was signed by others later at the Mokelurane River on the march south ; 
since which time it has not appeared. BidweIVs Cal. in 1841-8, MS., 171-4. 
This author puts Fremont's speech on the 4th, and the fandango on the even- 
ing of Sunday the 5th, after the organization. 


Mexico. There remained onl}^ the trifling formality 
of taking possession of that part of the country south 
of San Francisco Bay, and this would already have 
been wellnigh accomplished had Fremont not pre- 
vented the sending of reenforcements to Weber at 
San Jose.^^ It was Ide's plan, as he claims, and as 
there is no good reason to doubt, when once he had 
fully established a free and independent government, 
to apply for admission to the American Union on terms 
to be settled by negotiations, in which of course he 
personally would play a prominent role. This method 
of annexation in his view would not only give him the 
fame and profit to which he was entitled, but was 
more honorable to the United States and just to the 
Californians than the plan of conquest finally adopted. 
Naturally, holding these views, Ide regarded ¥r6- 
mont's ' unwarrantable interference ' as a grievous 
wrong. His theory was that Fremont, finding that 
his original plan of provoking an attack by Castro 
had failed, and that the revolutionists had succeeded 
without his aid, had deliberately plotted with other 
United States officers to obtain command of the move- 
ment. His purpose was believed to be twofold : first, 
to gain for himself glory as conqueror of California; 
and second, to give the country to the United States 
without the troublesome negotiations and treaty stip- 
ulations which would be necessary in dealing with 
an independent government.^^ As to the means by 

^^ Ide's Biog. Sketch, 191, etc. He says three men had arrived on July 1st, 
with news of preparations south of the bay. He at once made ready a boat 
to send arms and other aid; but Fremont managed to prevent the measure on 
one pretext and another, really to prevent the complete success of the revolu- 
tion until he could obtain exclusive control. Ide's editor, his brother, says: 
'The civil and military authority of Mexico had been thoroughly wiped out; 
California was not, and had not been, from the 15th of June to the 5th of 
July under Mexican rule. She was what her rude national flag liad from day 
to day proclaimed, the California Republic. During these 20 days there was 
no obstruction, by a conflicting party to the exercise by the Bear Flag gov- 
ernment of its entire functions and prerogatives of national independence'! p. 

'2 Ide's version of the 'second edition revised and corrected' of Fre- 
mont's plan is as follows: '1st, secure the command of the independent 
forces of the Bear Flag republic. 2d, hoist the U. S. flag, and follow up 
to the entire conquest. 3d, if no war between Mex. and the U. S. ensue, 


which the plot was carried out, Ide gives the follow- 
ing explanation : The people were assembled at Sal- 
vador Vallejo's house, Fremont's 72 men, with eight 
or ten 'gentlemen officers' from the ships, under 
arms in one room; and about 280 of the Bears un- 
armed in another, with an armed sentry between the 
two. Then Fremont entered the larger room with 
Gillespie and others, and made a speech. He still 
declined to meddle in California politics, but was 
willing to render aid against Castro, whom he de- 
nounced as a usurper, on condition that the insur- 
gents would pledge themselves to ^' abstain from the 
violation of the chastity of women," to conduct the 
war honorably, and to obey their officers implicitly. 
Ide then made a speech, consenting to the pledge of 
obedience, to draft which a committee was chosen. 
The larger assembly named Ide on this committee, 
whereupon the smaller, 'the council of friends,' named 
two of their number. In committee meeting the ma- 
jority, being and representing men who were not con- 
nected with the Bear Flag movement at all, favored 
setting aside all that had been done in the past and 
starting anew; and this idea was embodied in their 
report. The reasons urged were: 1st, that July 5th 
immediately follows the 4th; 2d, that Fremont, as 
'advisory leader,' should begin with the beginning; 
and, 3d, that in changing the 'administration,' a new 
organization was proper — " or, more definitely, that 
we who are out of office may have a chance to get 
in." After an ineffectual attempt to get possession of 
the chair by the representatives of the smaller body, 
the majority report was first submitted for approval; 
and then that of the minority — but here Ide's narra- 
tive abruptly terminates. We have no means of 

sell out all the military stores of the U. S. to the govt of Cal., and obtain 
Cal. by treaty with the new govt; but in the event of a war, to seize and 
acquire the whole by the right of conquest.' The officer who should thus 
violate national honor would naturally be cashiered by his govt ; 'yet as a 
solace for his dishonor [to use the language of our informant, who was one of 
said U. S. officers], he will be in town with a pocket full of rocks.' Biog. 
Sketch, 195. Ford's narrative does not include these matters. 


knowing this author's version of the final result, or 
of the methods by which Fremont succeeded in his 
main purpose of obtaining the command, notwith- 
standing the numerical strength of the Bears as com- 
pared with the 'council of friends.' Perhaps Ide 
would have represented the adoption of Bidwell's 
brief pledge as a victory over those who wished to 
blot out all that had been done before July 5th, and 
his own withdrawal in favor of Fremont as a com- 
promise intended to prevent dissensions; or perhaps 
his claim might be to have resigned in disgust, be- 
cause his policy could not be fully carried out. 

The truth is that Ide greatly overrated his influence 
and achievements. He believed himself entitled to the 
glory of having organized a great revolution, won a 
great victory, and founded a great republic. His com- 
panions of the original Bear party looked upon him 
as an honest, zealous, but eccentric and somewhat fa- 
natical old man, whose zeal, good sense, and education 
rendered him as well fitted for the command as any 
of their number after the departure of Semple and 
Grigsby, and whose eccentricities and mania for theo- 
rizing and writing and making speeches could not be 
regarded as a serious fault on the part of a garrison 
commander. They cared nothing for his political 
theories, and never thought of him as in any sense a 
rival of Fremont. It was on the latter's cooperation 
that they had founded their hopes of successful revolt 
from the first, and they were ready to welcome his 
accession to the active command at any time, regard- 
ing it as practically an alliance with the United 
States. Sympathy is naturally excited in Ide's behalf 
by reason of his many good qualities, by his devotion 
to what seemed to him a worthy cause, by the earnest- 
ness with which he presents his wrongs, and by the 
fact that Fremont did unquestionably rob him of a 
certain portion of what both parties and the world at 
large regarded as fame. But it must be borne in mind 
that his cause was in reality a bad one — mere filibus- 


terism ; that his influence in promoting the revolt had 
been much less than that of Fremont; and that, far 
from having conquered California as he believed, he 
had really accomplished little or nothing toward that 
conquest. Moreover, it is not easy to comprehend that 
his plan of giving the country to the United States 
was in any way more honorable than that by which the 
annexation was effected, and which he so violently 

Respecting the military organization effected on 
July 5th at Sonoma, I have found no contemporary 
records whatever. All that is known of the Califor- 
nia battalion as it was at first organized is that it num- 
bered about 250 men of the Bear Flag party and Fre- 
mont's explorers; formed into three companies under 
John Grigsby, Henry L. Ford, and Granville P. Swift 
respectively as captains; all under the command of 
Fremont, though it does not appear what was the 
exact rank and title — perhaps acting major — assumed 
by that officer; and with Lieutenant Gillespie appar- 
ently as adjutant.^^ About the terms of enlistment 
we have only Bidwell's memory of the paper signed 
by the volunteers. Ide seems to have joined the force 
as a private. Something more of detail about the 
battalion in a later stage of its development will appear 
in the annals of the conquest. Captain Grigsby with 
50 men or more remained at Sonoma. The rest of the 

"Fremont says nothing of the force; simply mentions that it was organ- 
ized nnder his command, that officers were elected, Grigsby and 50 men being 
left at Sonoma. Niles' Reg., Ixxi. 191. Gillespie, Frdmont's Oal. Claims, 28, 
says that four companies were organized, one being left at Sonoma, and that 
the whole force was 224, Hensley, Id. , 'So, says: ' We organized the " Califor- 
nia Battalion," adopting the "grizzly bear" as our emblem, requesting Capt. 
Fremont to take command of the battalion, and of all the forces and resources 
of the country, which command he accepted,' In a contribution to the Alta, 
July 3, 18GG, Gillespie gave the force as 250, 70 being left at Sonoma; and 
names himself as adjutant and inspector, with rank of captain. Followed by 
Lancey's Cruise, 73, 102. In the Bear Flag Hist., we read that the volunteers 
were 'organized into three companies under captains Grigsby, Ford, and 
Swift, leaving a small artillery company to take charge of the fort.' Ide says 
nothing of the organization, but states that there were about 350 men at 
Sonoma. Bidwell mentions the election of captains Ford and Swift only, 
l»aldridge says there was some rivalry for the post of senior captain; but 
Grigsl'Y was chosen. By dififerent autliorities the force of the battalion on 
arrival at Monterey is given as IGO or 180 men. 


force under Fremont started July 6th for the Sacra- 
mento, there to make preparations for an advance 
upon Castro, taking with them such horses, cattle, 
and other needed supplies as the Bears had accumu- 
lated, or as they could find in the adjoining ranchos. 
Fremont and his battalion arrived at Sutter's Fort, 
and moved up to the old camp on the American River 
on the 9th and 10th of July. It was the avowed in- 
tention to march with the least possible delay against 
Castro in the south; and it is of course impossible to 
prove that such was not Fremont's real purpose. I 
suspect, however, that he would have found a plausi- 
ble pretext for delaying the movement for several 
weeks, in expectation of news that war had been de- 
clared. He was by no means afraid of Castro's forces, 
nor was he averse to a fight in which old scores might 
be settled; but his position as an officer of the United 
States was a delicate one. By postponing hostile ac- 
tion until the news of war should come, he might, 
thanks to his past caution, set up the plea, if by rea- 
son of official censure or other motives it should seem 
safest, that he had not instigated the revolt or taken 
any active part in it, but had taken the nominal com- 
mand at the last for any one of a dozen reasons which 
his fertile brain would suggest. It is by no means 
impossible that he might have found it politic under 
certain circumstances to assume the ground imputed 
to him by Ide, that he had gained control of the move- 
ment solely to remove obstacles, in the shape of an 
independent government, to the military conquest of 
the country. The desired tidings arrived, however, 
on the very day that the battalion camped on the 
American; so that the movement even from its be- 
ginning at Sonoma has been known as a 'pursuit of 
Castro,' news of whose retreat from Santa Clara 
reached the Sacramento at about the same time. With 
the news of Sloat's operations at Monterey, there came 
a U. S. flag, which was raised next morning, July 1 1th, 
over Sutter's Fort; the stars and stripes had already 


been floating at Sonoma for two days ; the Bear Flag 
revolt was at an end. 

In an introductory chapter to the general subject, 
and in the course of my narrative, I have already 
said quite enough respecting the causes, effects, and 
general character of the Bear Flag revolt, and I do 
not propose to reopen the subject even en resume. 
Neither do I deem it best to notice, except in a pass- 
ing glance, the actions of the insurgents respecting 
private persons and property while in possession of 
Sonoma and the surrounding region. It is not possi- 
ble to ascertain the exact truth in this matter. Those 
connected with the movement, almost without excep- 
tion, both in statements of the time and in later tes- 
timony, declare that no outrage or excess was com- 
mitted; that but little private property except horses 
was taken, and these always with the consent of the 
owners, who took receipts to prove their claims against 
the new government later. It is not necessary to be- 
lieve that all this was literally true; there can be no 
doubt that small quantities of plunder were taken by 
the insurgents from many citizens without any for- 
malities whatever; and it is not likely that the ran- 
cheros were eager to part with their horses and cattle, 
even in exchange for the Bears' promises to pay. 
Yet it is certain that the leaders did their best to 
restrain their somewhat unruly followers; and their 
efforts were, all circumstances considered, successful. 
Rarely if ever has a filibuster revolt been conducted 
with so much moderation in respect of private rights. 
I might introduce here a long list of statements by 
Californians about outrages committed by the hated 
Bears; but it would serve no good purpose. Many 
of these accusations are evidently and absurdly false ; 
others are grossly exaggerated; and I have no means 
of distinguishing accurately the comparatively few 
that are well founded. As to the obligations con- 
tracted by the insurgents for horses and other supplies 


from June 14th to July 9th, they were turned over 
to U. S. officials, together with the so-called public 
property designed as security for their payment. The 
matter of 'California claims' in congress is too com- 
plicated to be noticed here. These early claims were, 
however, acknowledged by the United States, in con- 
nection with more numerous and important obliga- 
tions of similar nature incurred during the conquest. 
The two classes of claims are so blended that it is not 
easy to determine from existing records the fate of 
any particular claim of the earlier period. Many of 
the rancheros lost their receipts ; others sold theirs to 
third parties at nominal prices; and others still pre- 
sented fictitious claims. Few if any bona fide orig- 
inal claimants ever received payment for the property 
lost." I append in closing some notes on the bibliog- 
raphy of the Bear Flag revolt. ^^ 

^* In Bear Flag Papers, MS., 21, is a memorandum of sundries taken from 
some one on June 21st and July 5th. It is marked 'taken by order of Capt. 
Fremont.' In Vallejo, Hist. Cat., MS., v. 141-6, and Mrs Leese's Flist. Bear 
Party y there are somewhat vague accounts of troubles between the Bear lead- 
ers and Mrs Vallejo and family, the latter being accused of sending arms anil 
ammunition to Padilla and Carrillo. 

^•^I name different sources of information — already often referred to in 
the preceding chapters — approximately in the order of their importance. 
The Bear Flag Papers is a collection of about 80 original documents of 1846 
bearing on the capture and occupation of Sonoma, the imprisonment of Va- 
llejo and his companions at Sutter's Fort, and other topics closely connected 
■with the revolt. Almost without exception, these papers contain information 
not existing elsewhere. Of especial value are the original capitulations and 
parole papers signed at Sonoma on June 14th, a contemporary narrative by 
Leese, official reports of Lieut Misroon's visit to Sonoma, and some corre- 
spondence of the prisoners. I have no hesitation in putting this collection at 
the head of the list. For the preservation of such valuable historic records 
the public is indebted, as I am for their possession, to Gen. M. G. Vallejo. 
Leese's Bear Flag; Statement of Jacob P. Leese to Col. J. C. Fremont. Pro- 
ceedings in Upper California p)revious to the declaration of the war in this de- 
partment, is one of the papers of the collection just mentioned, and merits 
special notice. It is a narrative of 12 large and closely written pages in 
Leese's hand; prepared probably in 1847, under circumstances not definitely 
known; and containing a more de failed account of the taking of Sonoma, in 
certain respects, and especially of the journey of the captives to Sacramento, 
than any other. Leese's statements are confirmed by other evidence in some 
parts; and there is no reason to doubt their accuracy in others. 

The manuscripts contained in Larkin's Doc. Hist. Cal. and Larkin's Off. 
Correspondence, which bear upon the matter would, if brought together, 
form a collection much larger, and in some respects more important, than 
that just mentioned. They consist of more than 200 documents, chiefly cor- 
respondence of Larkin, Stearns, Leidesdorff, Fr(5mont, Montgomery, Gillespie, 
Marsh, and other prominent men, dated in the first half of 1846. They are 


invaluable in fixing dates; and they throw much light on every phase of what 
was occurring in all parts of the country. Buchanari's Instructions to Larkin 
is the most important single document, though belonging only indirectly to 
the Bear Flag revolt. Sawi/o'^s Documents consist of copies made from the 
Larkin papers before they came into my possession; but it includes a few 
papers that have been lost from the originals. They were given me by the 
late Charles H. Sawyer. 

Other private archives particularly rich in material on the revolt are 
Castro, Doc. Hist. CaL; Documentos para la J list, de California; and Vallejo, 
Doc. Hist. CaL Very many important papers, official and unofficial, are found 
in these collections and nowhere else, to say nothing of the hundreds of petty 
■conmiunications which, in the aggregate, help so much to perfect the historic 
record. The smaller collections of Doc. Hist. CaL, bearing the names of 
Guerra, Pico, Bandini, Olvera, Moreno, Coronel, and Carrillo respectively, 
also contain each its original and contemporary contributions to current his- 
tory, with special reference to affairs in the south. The Cal. Pion. Soc. 
Archiv'saiid the Monterey Consulate Archices furnish each a few items not 
obtainable elsewhere. 

The public archives of the Californian government furnish but meagre 
information respecting the events of this period. There is hardly anything 
of value relating to events on the northern frontier in June and July. The 
archives — ^notably the Lerjislative Records; Depart. St. Papers, tom. vi.-viii.; 
Los Amjeles, Arch.; and San Jos6, Arch. — are richer in matters about events 
preceding the outbreak; though even in this respect they are much less com- 
plete than the private archives. 

Among personal narratives — that of Leese having been noticed, and after 
a passing glance at four Letters from California, signed *The Farthest 
West,' written in June 1846 from Yerba Buena, intended for a New York 
paper, but originally published in the Honolulu Friend, Oct. 15-Dec. 1, 1846, 
and containing much interesting information on current events — that of Will- 
iam B. Ide merits our first attention. It is found in A Biographical Sketch 
of the Life of William B. Ide; with a minute and interestiny account of one of 
the largest emigrating companies {3,000 miles over land) from the East to tht 
Pacific coast. And what is claimed as the most authentic and reliable account of 
* the virtucd conquest of California in June 1846, hy the Bear Flag Party, ' as given 
bi/ its leader, the late Hon. William Brown Ide. Published for the subscribers. 
n'.p., n.d. (probably Claremont, N. H., 1880), 16mo, 240 p. This little work was 
edited and printed by Simeon Ide, a brother of William B. , and may be noticed 
in three distinct parts. 1st, biographical matter contributed by different mem- 
bers of the family, and including original letters; a most praiseworthy sketch 
of the life of a prominent pioneer, containing interesting reminiscences of the 
overland trip by Ide's daughter, Mrs Healey. 2d, an account of the revolu- 
tion compiled by the editor from various sources, and of no value whatever; 
since the aged brother in his New Hampshire home had no facilities for ac- 
quiring accurate information; and the men in California to whom the proofs 
were submitted for revision — or at least those of them whose ideas were fol- 
lowed — were not well qualified for the task. And, 3d, Ide's Letter to Senator 
Wambough, a narrative of the revolt supposed to have been written before 
1848, and devoted mainly to a vindication of the author's reputation as the 
real 'Conqueror of Calitornia' against the rival claims of Capt. Fremont. 
This is by far the most important part of the work. In many respects it is 
a more complete record than any other narrative. It is most eloquently 
though quaintly written. There is every reason to believe, from the narra- 
tive in question and from other sources, that Ide was an honest and well 
meaning man. This letter, however, is a piece of special pleading, every- 
where colored by a violent prejudice, sometimes amounting to a mania, 
against Fremont, whom Ide honestly believed to have robbed him of his fame 
as a conqueror and founder of a republic. The merits of the case have been 
discussed elsewhere; but the author's grievance and bitter prejudice doubtless 
lead him at several points away from strict accuracy in the presentation of 



minor facts, and thus detract from the merit of the nan-ativo. The Wam- 
bough letter, with some editorial comments, containing nothing not in the Biog. 
Sketchy was issued separately under the title, Who Conquered California, etc. 
Clareraont, N. H. (1880), 12mo, 137 p. Mr Ide quotes once or twice a diary 
kept by him at Sonoma. It is not very unlikely that this manuscript may 
some day be brought to light. I have also a MS. copy of hit's Biog. Sketch 
made before the work was published. 

A manuscript report signed by John H. Nash, John Grigsby, and Wm 
B. Ide as a 'committee' of citizens, and dated Sonoma, May 13, 1847, was fur- 
nished to the Sangamon [III.) Journal, which paper published a 'brief r^sum^* 
of its contents reprinted in N lies' Register, Ixxiii. 1 1(>-H, 157. It is not known 
what has become of the original. I have quoted the summary as lii-^tory 
of the Bear Flag Revolt. The original had an appendix containing 'matters 
and things which ought not to be published at the present time,' say the ed- 
itors. From the closing paragraph, it appears that the report was written to 
favor the payment of the 'California claims,' and to obtain a 'land premium' 
and other remuneration for revolutionary services. It was probably written 
chiefly by Ide, and in general purport does not differ materially from the 
Wambough letter. Henry L. Ford's Bear Flag Revolution in Cal. is a MS. 
narrative written by the author in 1851, for Rev. S. H. Willey, who pub- 
lished a summary of its contents in the .S'. F. Bulletin and Sta Cruz Sentinel. 
My copy was made from the original in 1877. Ford was a prominent man in 
the revolt from the beginning, and maybe regarded as a trustworthy witness. 
As he wrote from memory, his dates are inaccurate; and there are some indi- 
cations that in his recollections he sometimes confounded what he saw and 
what he read in the early papers; still his statement must be regarded as one 
of the most important extant. 

Among the statements written by Bear Flag men from memory expressly 
for my use, William Baldridge's Days of '46 is by far the most valuable and 
complete; though some useful items are given by Knight, Hargrave, Fowler, 
McChristian, Marshall, Gregson, and others. Bidwell, California 1841-8, 
gives testimony that has been of great service to me, being somewhat disap- 
pointing, however, in comparison with his testimony on other matters, and with 
what might naturally be expected from a gentleman of Bid well's intelligence 
and opportunities. John A. Sutter's Personal Reminiscences are not very val- 
uable in this connection, except as showing the author's views on certain 
points. John C. Fremont has repeatedly promised and as often failed to give 
me his testimony on the subject. Thomas S. Martin's Narrative, by one of 
Fremont's men, is quite extensive and interesting; but is unfortunately so in- 
accurate on many matters susceptible of proof as to destroy its value on other 

Original statements by native Californians, of which I have many besides 
the elaborate histories of Va,llejo, Osio, Alvarado, Pico, and Bandini, and the 
briefer recollections of Manuel Castro, Francisco Arce, Francisco Rico, Est(5- 
van de la Torre, and Luis German, with contributions of Antonio F. Coronel 
and Narciso Botello in the south, are on this subject as on most others very 
uneven in quality. Side by side in the same narrative are found the most 
absurd and evident inaccuracies on one point and valuable testimony on an- 
other. The Bear Flag revolt is on an average more fairly presented by these 
gentlemen than are many other topics of California history. Their statements 
in the aggregate are very valuable when used in connection with and tested 
by contemporary records; without such accompaniment they would lead the 
historian far astray on many points. Of course I have no space here to par- 
ticularize the merits and weaknesses of so many narratives; and no one of 
them is, on this special subject, notably superior or inferior to the rest. 

The New Helvetia Diary, MS. , is a record of the time which fixes several 
dates, and is otherwise of considerable value. Sutter's Diary is substantially 
in most respects a r^sum^ of the same record. Clyman's Diary, MS. , contains 
some items bearing indirectly on the general topic. In Niles' Register oi 1846- 
7, vol. Ixx. p. 161, Ixxxi. p. 173-4, 187-91, is a valuable collection of corre- 


spondence on Fremont's movements, some of it not elsewhere found. It was 
on Fremont's letter to Benton, and on that of the latter to the president, that 
were founded brief mentions of the subject in various govt reports of the time, 
as well as the current popular ideas for several years. FHmonfs Oeog. Memoir 
and Kernes Journal contain some matters pertaining more or less directly to 
the subject; and Peters* Life of Kit Carson may be regarded as containing 
some original matter in the shape of Carson's testimony, though of little value. 
Fremont's Cal. Claims (30th cong. 1st sess., Sen. Rept no. 75) is a collection 
of important testimony taken in 1848 from Fremont, Gillespie, Hensley, and 
many other prominent men, on a subject growing directly out of the revolt. 

Phelps* Fore and Aft and Revere* s Tour of Duty are books written by men 
who were in California in 1846, and to some extent actors in the scenes de- 
scribed. Both authors fall into some errors, doubtless without any inten- 
tional misrepresentation. The Monterey Califomian, 1846, and the S. F. 
Californian, 1847, contained a good deal of valuable matter on the subject, 
much of it emanating from Dr Semple, editor of the former paper and a 
prominent Bear Flag man, a narrative from whose pen appears in the Hespe- 
rian, vol. iii. Much information, in a certain sense original, being in many 
instances the pers6nal recollections of pioneers, and in a few cases tciking a 
documentary form, has appeared in California newspapers of later date, of 
which it is not necessary to give a list here, the S. F. ^ /to and SanJosd Pio- 
neer being prominent in this respect. It is well to mention in this connection 
Thomas C. Lancey's Cruise of the Dale, published in the paper last named. 
It contains more matter on all topics connected with the conquest than any 
other publication extant, being compiled from newspaper and other sources 
by a gentleman who came to California in 1846, and who was well fitted in 
many respects for the task. This work merits more praise than it will ever 
obtain in its present form, marred by many typographical blunders, and lack- 
ing systematic arrangement. Of a similar nature to Lancey's work, though 
as a rule inferior, except where they have reproduced it literally, are the local 
county histories of California published during the past few years; the editors 
having occasionally, however, obtained items that were new and of some 
value. John S. Ilittell's History of San Francisco should be noticed here as 
the only popular work of late years in which a correct understanding of the 
character of the revolt is shown. 

Such are the sources of original information on the Bear Flag revolt; and 
I may add that most of the authorities cited treat also of later annals, or the 
conquest. Miscellaneous printed works treating more or less fully of both the 
Revolt and the Conquest— some of them trustworthy, and others trash, pure 
and simple; none of them containing original matter; and none of them cited 
in my pages except occasionally, to show the author's peculiar views, to cor- 
rect an error, or for some other special purpose — may be found in great num- 
bers in my general list of authorities. 



The War with Mexico — Beginning of Hostilities — Feeling iv the 
United States Respecting California — Policy of President Polk's 
Administration — Instructions to Commodore Sloatin 1845 and 1846 
— Plans for Permanent Occupation — The Pacific Squadron at* 
Mazatlan — Rumors of War — Services of Dr Wood and John Par- 
EOTT — The 'Portsmouth' and 'Cyane' Sent to Monterey— News 
PROM THE Rio Grande — Sloat's Plans — His * Unwarranted Inactiv- 
ity' — Changes his Mind — Starts for California in the 'Savannah' 
— English Designs — The Rival Fleets — A Race, in American Imagi- 
nation — A Protectorate — An Unfounded Conjecture — The McNa- 
MARA Colonization Project — Ten Thousand Irishmen for San Joa- 

The conquest of California was a part of the war of 
1846-8, between Mexico and the United States. Not 
only was California a portion, and the richest portion, 
of the territory transferred from one nation to the 
other as a result of the war; but it was also the prize 
chiefly coveted in advance by that element in the 
northern republic which promoted the conflict. It 
was the region whose loss Mexico most dreaded, and 
whose prospective annexation to the United States 
was looked upon with most disfavor in Europe. There- 
fore I might appropriately — and in fact, were I writ- 
ing a detached history of California, should be obliged 
to — present at considerable length the general annals 
of the war, and particularly the causes which led to it. 
I am relieved, however, from this necessity by the 
fact that the Mexican war is in its general features 



fully treated in another volume of m}^ work; and I 
shall therefore confine myself to a brief statement 
respecting the outbreak of hostilities, and then pro- 
ceed to consider those phases only of the subject 
which directly concerned the territory to which these 
volumes are devoted. 

The independence of Texas, eflfected in 1836 by 
Americans colonists, while fully recognized by the lead- 
ing powers of the world, was never so recognized by 
Mexico, w^hich nation persisted in regarding the lone- 
star republic as its own territory, and believed that 
the so-called independence was but a pretext from the 
first for ultimate annexation to the United States. 
When the question of such annexation began to be 
"agitated, the Mexicans of course were confirmed in 
their belief, and the popular feeling became very bit- 
ter. Over and over again the government of Mexico 
declared officially that annexation would be forcibly 
resisted, and would be made a cause of war. In the 
United States it was not generally believed that this 
warlike threat would be carried out. There was, how- 
ever, a strong opposition to the proposed measure, 
founded in part on the justice of Mexican claims, but 
mainly on the danger of extending southern political 
power. The project was defeated in congress; but, 
after a presidential election in which its friends were 
victorious, it was again brought up, and ratified at 
Washington in March 1845, receiving the final ap- 
proval of Texas in July of the same year. Before the 
end of 1845 a military force was stationed, not only on 
the Texan frontier, but over the line in disputed terri- 
tory, which Mexico with much reason claimed as her 
own, whether Texan independence were recognized or 
not. In Mexico, meanwhile, there was practically no 
difference of opinion on the merits of the case; but 
the administration in power, that of Herrera, was in- 
clined to avoid a declaration of war, and to favor delay 
and diplomatic negotiations, prudently foreseeing the 
danger of losing, not only Texas, but other parts of the 


national domain. The popular feeling, however, was 
irresistibly opposed to every policy of concession; the 
administration was forced to refuse negotiation with 
Slidell, the American minister, whose mission it had 
to a certain extent encouraged ; and finally it was over- 
thrown by Paredes, who took advantage of the public 
sentiment in favor of war to raise himself into power. 
Another effort to prevent the war was that which 
aimed at a treaty by which Mexico should recognize 
the independence of Texas, in return for a pledge 
against annexation. This plan was instigated by the 
European powers clearly foreseeing the result of a 
conflict, but it w^as rejected by Texas. Early in March 
1846 the American army advanced toward the Kio 
Grande, impeded by protests and proclamations and 
threats, but no forcible resistance. Early in April 
the Mexican army was ordered to advance, and General 
Ampudia, commanding at Matamoros, assumed a hos- 
tile attitude, ordering Taylor to retire at once beyond 
the Nueces until the question of boundaries could be 
settled. The order was not obeyed. Before the end 
of April blood had been shed in several minor encoun- 
ters of small detached parties, and a considerable part 
of the Mexican force had crossed the Kio Grande. 
On May 3d an artillery duel w^as begun between the 
fortifications on opposite sides of the river, and on 
May 8th was fought the first pitched battle at Palo 
Alto. I need not. follow the record of military opera- 
tions further. It was on May 13th that congress 
voted, and President Polk proclaimed, that '*by the 
act of the republic of Mexico a state of war exists be- 
tween that government and the United States." 

As to the popular sentiment in the United States 
respecting the acquisition of California, there is little 
or nothing to be added to what I have said on the 
same subject for 1845.^ The threatened war had lit- 
tle bearing on the subject, for it was not generally be- 

^See Hifit. Ca?., vol. iv., chap. xxv. 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 18 


lieved that there would be any war. It was felt that 
California was a most desirable province; that it was 
not destined to remain much longer under Mexican 
control ; that it ought for many reasons to belong to 
the United States; and that the rapid increase of 
American immigration would inevitably bring about 
the desired result, unless it were prevented by Euro- 
pean interference. Those who were opposed to the ac- 
quisition founded their opposition mainly on political 
and sectional grounds; but many of those who favored 
it hoped to see it accomplished by purchase rather than 
by methods bearing a dishonorable taint of filibuster- 
ism. On two points there was wellnigh unanimous 
agreement — that England was no less eager than the 
United States to obtain California, and that no inter- 
ference by that or any European power must in any 
case be tolerated. Of course, the war once begun, 
there was but little disposition on the part of any to 
oppose the temporary occupation of California as a 
military measure; indeed, during the continuance of 
the conflict public attention was but very slightly 
directed to the ultimate fate of that country, though 
details of military achievements, there as in Mexico, 
were closely watched.'^ 

Respecting the policy of the administration at 
Washington with regard to California, we are left 
in no doubt whatever. From developments in the 
Commodore Jones affair of 1842,^ and from the sub- 
sequent naval operations on the coast, I might rea- 
sonably infer, as other writers have repeatedly done 
before me, that naval commanders had standing in- 
structions during all this period to occupy California 
in case of war with Mexico, and to prevent in any 

^ The feeling in the U. S. is well shown in an article on ' California, ' pub- 
lished in the American Review of Jan. 1846, vol. iii., p. 82-99, in which par- 
ticular attention is paid to English designs. I might quote extensively 
from newspapers of the time; but I find no such material which throws fur- 
ther light on the subject than has already been obtained from citations of 
former years. Most articles on the Mexican war mention California, but 
only incidentally. 

^ See chap. xii. of vol. iv. 


event such occupation by England or France. But 
we have no need for inference or conjecture on the 
subject, since clearly written instructions are extant. 
On June 24, 1845, after congress had ratified the 
measure which Mexico had declared would be a 
casus belli, Bancroft, secretary of the navy, wrote in 
'secret and confidential instructions' to Commodore 
Sloat, commanding the Pacific squadron, as follows: 
*'The Mexican ports on the Pacific are said to be 
open and defenceless. If you ascertain with certainty 
that Mexico has declared war against the United 
States, you will at once possess yourself of the port 
of San Francisco, and blockade or occupy such other 
ports as your force may permit. Yet . . . you will be 
careful to preserve if possible the most friendly rela- 
tions with the inhabitants, and . . . will encourage them 
to adopt a course of neutrality.""* In later commu- 
nications of August 5 and October 17, 1845, Ban- 
croft called Sloat's attention anew to the importance 
of carrying out the previous instructions promptly, 
substituting in the first the words "in the event of 
war," and in the second ''in the event of actual 
hostilities," for the phrase ''if you ascertain with cer- 
tainty that Mexico has declared war. " The receipt 
of these documents was acknowledged by Sloat on 
January 28th and March 17th respectively. 

In October of the same year Buchanan, secretary 
of state, in his instructions to Confidential Agent 
Larkin, so often cited in previous chapters, implied 
clearly that California would be occupied in the event 
of war, stating openly at the same time that Eu- 
ropean interference would not be permitted. Accord- 
ingly Larkin was instructed, and orders to Fremont 
and Gillespie were of like import, to gain the good- 
will of the authorities and people, that they might 
quietly and voluntarily submit to the proposed occu- 

Cong.f 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. No. 19; Cutts' Gonq., appen. These 
instructions are often referred to in later correspondence. See especially 
docMmentm Clarke's Speech on Gal. Claims, p. 8-9; Fr6mont''s Gal. Glaims, 71. 


pation; or, if there should be no war, as now seemed 
most Hkely, that they might be induced to declare 
their independence and ask for annexation.^ Thus the 
policy of the United States respecting two distinct 
methods of acquiring California was clearly though 
not publicly announced in advance. What may have 
been the secret intention, in case both plans should 
prove unsuccessful, we may only conjecture; but as 
we have seen, though many have believed the con- 
trary, no steps were taken to promote the acquisition 
by means of a settlers' revolt or other form of direct 
filibusterism. Indeed, it was fully believed by the 
government, as by its agents in California, that the 
proposed methods of acquisition would prove amply 
adequate to the purpose. 

On May 13, 1846, Bancroft wrote to Sloat: ''The 
state of things alluded to in my letter of June 24, 
1845, has occurred. You will therefore now be gov- 
erned by the instructions therein contained, and carry 
into effect the orders then communicated with energy 
and promptitude." Next day Buchanan sent to Lar- 
kin an official notification that war had begun, and 
that the Pacific ports would be at once blockaded. 
On May 15th Bancroft instructed Sloat more defi- 
nitely, but to the same effect. ''You will consider 
the most important public object to be to take and to 
hold possession of San Francisco, and this you will 
do without fail. You will also take possession of 
Mazatlan and of Monterey, one or both, as your force 
will permit. If information received here is correct, 
you can establish friendly relations between your 
squadron and the inhabitants of each of these three 
places . . . You will, as opportunity offers, conciliate the 
confidence of the people in California, and also in 
Sonora, toward the government of the United States ; 
and you will endeavor to render their relations with the 
United States as intimate and friendly as possible. It 
is important that you should hold possession, at least 

^Buchanan's Instructions to Lark'm, Oct. 17 y 1845, MS. 


of San Francisco, even while you encourage the people 
to neutrality, self-government, and friendship." In a 
similar communication of June 8th occur the follow- 
ing passages: "It is rumored that the province of 
California is well disposed to accede to friendly rela- 
tions. You will if possible endeavor to establish the 
supremacy of the American flag without any strife 
Avith the people of California. If California sepa- 
rates herself from our enemy, the central Mexican 
government, and establishes a government of its own 
under the auspices of the American flag, you will 
take such measures as will best promote the attach- 
ment of the people of California to the United States. 
You will bear in mind generally that this country 
desires to find in California a friend, and not an 
enemy; to be connected with it by near ties; to hold 
possession of it, at least during the war; and to hold 
that possession, if possible, with the consent of its 
inhabitants." Still earlier, on June 3d, Secretary of 
War Marcy ordered General Kearny to press on 
overland from New Mexico to California; and in his 
instructions he was directed to establish temporary 
civil governments in the regions occupied, to continue 
in office such authorities as are friendly to the United 
States and will take the oath of allegiance; and to 
^'assure the people of those provinces that it is the 
wish and design of the United States to provide for 
them a free government, with the least possible delay, 
similar to that which exists in our territories. They 
will be called upon to exercise the rights of freemen 
in electing their own representatives to the territorial 
legislature." Later instructions to Shubrick and 
Stevenson and Stockton were of the same tenor.^ 

The preceding communications might be cited more 
fully, and others of similar purport might be men- 
tioned. Some of them will be noticed in other con- 

^ The comnmnications cited are found in Larkiri's Doc, MS., iv. 121; 
U. S. Govt Doc, 29th cong. 2d sesa., H. Ex. Doc. 19; 31st cong. Ist-sess., H. 
Ex. Doc. 17; Cutts^ Conq., append.; Stockton's Life, append., etc. 


nections; but the citations given suffice for my present 
purpose, fully explaining the policy of the United 
States, before indicated with sufficient clearness in the 
instructions of 1845. Those of 1846 have no practi- 
cal importance in connection with naval and military 
operations on the Pacific coast in that year, because 
they did not reach their destination until later than 
July. In spirit, however, and in some instances with 
remarkable fidelity to detail, they were all obeyed 
long before they were received. This shows, what is 
otherwise clear enough, that the policy to be ob- 
served was well understood in advance — somewhat 
better, in fact, than could naturally be accounted for 
by the written orders extant — by officers and agents 
in the west. Naval commanders had been kept ac- 
quainted with that policy for several years ; and there 
is no reason to doubt that Gillespie brourjht to Cali- 
fornia, and communicated to leading men, exact in- 
formation about the orders to Sloat. It is to be noted 
that the orders of 1846 go somewhat further than to 
prove an intention to maintain a purely military occu- 
pation during the war; and indicate a purpose to re- 
tain, by one means or another, permanent possession 
of California The selection for the regiment of vol- 
unteers of men deemed likely to remain in the coun- 
try, like other circumstances that might be mentioned, 
illustrates the same purpose; and, indeed, as early as 
January 1847 the secretary of the navy, in a com- 
munication to Commodore Stockton, '^foresees no 
contingency in which the United States will ever 
surrender or relinquish possession of the Californias." 
Thus we see that the administration at Washington 
had determined in case of a war with Mexico to oc- 
cupy California, and as a result of the war to hold 
that country as a permanent possession. If peace 
should continue, a scheme had been devised and op- 
erations actually begun to promote a revolution of the 
natives, and a subsequent appeal for annexation. In 
any event, California was to fulfil its * manifest des- 


tiny,' and become a part of the United States. Had 
both plans failed, it may be plausibly conjectured that 
a revolt of American settlers would have been en- 
couraged; but no such failure was anticipated; and so 
far as can be known, no steps were taken in that di- 

The Pacific squadron of the U. S. navy, under the 
command of Commodore John D. Sloat, included in 
the spring of 1846 the following vessels: the ship Sa- 
vannahj flag-ship, 54 guns; the ship Congress, 60 
guns ; the sloops Warren, Portsmouth, Cyane, and Le- 
vant, each 24 guns; the schooner ASAar^, 12 guns; and 
the transport Erie. Five of these vessels had visited 
the California coast during the preceding year, as we 
have seen. The English squadron in Pacific waters, 
under Admiral Sir George F. Seymour, was consider- 
ably stronger in vessels, guns, and men. The two 
squadrons had been for some time closely watching 
each other's movements because of possible difficulties 

'Most writers on California have something to say on the matter of U. S. 
policy; but I find it necessary to make but few references. The prevalent 
opinion, deemed by me an error, that the government did promote the settlers' 
revolt as a part of the conquest, has been fully noticed elsewhere. Jay, Mex- 
ican War, 154-7, and Mansfield, Mexican War, 96-7, argue that the war was 
made for the sole purpose of seizing California, presenting the prompt obedi- 
ence of orders in advance, as proofs that permanent occupation was intended 
from the first, and that plans were perfected and orders given long before 
hostilities began. See also Thompson's speech of Jan. 27, 1848, in Cong. Globe, 
1847-8, p. 260; Dwinelle's Address before Pioneers, 1866, p. 9-20; Thompson's 
Recollections, 232-5. Dwindle says: 'There are gentlemen of the highest re- 
spectability residing in Cal. who came here upon the personal assurance of 
President Polk, in 1846, that the war should not be concluded until Upper 
Cal. was secured by treaty to the U. S.' Wood, Wandering Sketches, 215, 
says: 'For many years before Cal. was annexed, the impression seemed to ex- 
ist in the U. S. Pacific squadron that its most important purpose was to occu- 
py Cal. , and its vigilance was directed to the accomplishment of such a duty. 
The British squadron seemed to have an equally strong idea that its business 
was to prevent any such act upon the part of ours, and consequently these 
squadrons went about watching each other. ' In Mexico it was the universal 
belief that the United States govt was determined to obtain Cal. by filibuster- 
ing encroachments; and most regarded war as the only means of resisting 
such encroachment; but a few opposed the war, because they believed it would 
only hasten the calamity. Hardly a newspaper published in Mexico that did 
not frequently contain the most bitter articles in opposition to the American 
policy respecting Cal. ; and, the subject was continually alluded to in ofl&cial 
writings and discourses. Quotations would be bulky, and would serve no 
good purpose. 


to arise from the Oregon question, if for no other 
reason : but more of this hereafter. The movements 
of Sloat's fleet have no special importance for our 
present purpose until March, when all the vessels — 
except the Congress y which with Commodore Stockton 
on board was at Callao en route from the States, and 
the Cyane, which had lately sailed for Honolulu — were 
cruising on the Mexican coast, being practically all 
together at Mazatlan. 

Sloat, with the Washington orders down to Octo- 
ber 1845 in his possession, was awaiting tidings of war 
which should enable him to carry out those orders. 
Lieutenant Gillespie had arrived at Mazatlan over- 
land in February, and had sailed February 22d on 
the Cyajie, William Mervine commander, for Hono- 
lulu and Monterey, arriving at the latter port in 
April ;^ but it does not clearly appear that he brought 
instructions to or had any official relations with Sloat. 
Late in March the military authorities at Mazatlan 
received news by express from the interior that war 
had broken out, and that the Mexican Atlantic ports 
had been blockaded. This report caused much excite- 
ment, during which the archives were removed to 
Rosario, whither the comandante went with his gar- 
rison, after warning the people in a bando that the 
Americans were about to blockade the port. Sloat had 
no news of an eastern blockade, neither had the Eng- 
lish commanders, whose means of communication were 
better than those of the Americans, and who had be- 
fore given the latter despatches not otherwise received ; 
but during the excitement news came from California 
of Fremont's trouble with Castro, and on April 1st 
the Portsmouth, Captain John B. Montgomery, was 
despatched in haste to Monterey, where she arrived 

^ Details about the exact movement of most of the vessels are but meagrely 
recorded. The Honolulu papers, the Polynesian and Friend, afford some in- 
formation. The Cyane arrived at Honolulu March 13th and sailed 19th 'for 
Mazatlan ; ' but as Gillespie says he came via the Sandwich Islands, and as 
there was no record of, or indeed time for, another trip by that route before 
April 17th, I suppose she touched at Monterey on the way to Mazatlan, for 
which place she sailed April 19th. 




on April 2 2d, remaining there, and later at San Fran- 
cisco.^ The alarming or reassuring news was not 
confirmed by later despatches from Mexico. The lo- 
cal excitement passed away, and the naval officers re- 
sumed their watchful waiting for warlike rumors. 
Meanwhile the Shark, Lieutenant Neil M. Howison, 
had been sent on April 2d to await the Congress at 
Honolulu ; and about the end of the month the Cyane 
returned from Monterey with news that the Castro- 
Fremont war-cloud in California had passed away. 

At the beginning of May William M. Wood, late 
fleet surgeon, being permitted to return home over- 
land through Mexico, was intrusted with despatches 
to the government, and was instructed to send back 
to Sloat any information of importance that might 
be gathered on the way. Accompanied by John Par- 
rott, U. S. consul at Mazatlan, Wood went up to 
San Bias by sea, started inland on May 4th, and on 
the 10th arrived at Guadalajara. ''Startling news 
here reached us," writes Wood, "placing us, and par- 
ticularly myself, in most unpleasant circumstances. 
In triumphant and boastful language we were in- 
formed of the successful attack upon our forces on 
the Kio Grande, and the capture of some of our 
dragoons. The intelligence reached the city about 
the same time with ourselves; and soon after news- 
boys were selling extras in the streets, and crying, at 
the highest pitch of their voices, 'Triumph over the 
North Americans/ In every respect this was bad 
news, mortifying to our national pride . . . Our own 
position was a cause of much anxiety. Here was 
war, and we in the centre of the country; I with a 
hovstile uniform in my trunk, and despatches in my 
cap, which unfortunately stated that one object of 
my journey was to collect information in relation to 
expected hostilities. What was to be done, was a 

^ Larkiri's Doc, MS., iv. 107, 115, 126-7, containing corresp. on the trip of 
the Portsmouth and the news brought by her of the state of affairs at Maza- 
tlan. See also Wood's Wandering Sketches, 346-8, the author of which was 
at Mazatlan at the time and gives some particulars. 



serious question. I had no disposition to be placed 
in the position of a spy in an enemy's country; and 
yet, to avoid being in such a position, I should at 
once surrender myself to the authorities. By pur- 
suing this course, I would be compelled to surrender 
or destroy the despatches, and, what was worse, would 
lose an opportunity of communicating the state of af- 
fairs to the commander-in-chief in the Pacific. The 
condition of things left by us on the western coast 
seemed to demand that such an opportunity should 
not be lost. Whether correctly or not, it was be- 
lieved that in case of war the British squadron would 
attempt to take California under its protection. . . 
After due deliberation, it was determined that we 
should continue our journey through the country, 
and, if possible, send an express to the commander- 
in-chief of our squadron in the Pacific. The latter 
was a matter of some difficulty, as all expresses must 
be sent through and under authority of the govern- 
ment post-office. However, Mr Parrott was en- 
abled to manage the matter with much skill. The 
express went through safely, making ten days' ordi- 
nary travel in five days, and delivering, on the 17th 
of May, the first news of the war to our forces on the 
Pacific.; ^^ 

Having received on May 17th from James R. Bol- 
ton, acting consul, the despatch sent by Wood and 
Parrott, Sloat at once sent the Cyane under Captain 
Mervine to California. She sailed on or about May 

^" Wood's Wandering SketcheSy 348-69. In Mc Whorter's Incidents of the 
War with Mexico, a small pamphlet of 10 pages, without date of publica- 
tion, and devoted to a record of Wood's services, we find Sloat's letter 
of April 30th, to the sec. of the navy, explaining Wood's mission; and 
also a letter from Sloat to Wood, dated March 20, 1855, in which the doc- 
tor's great services are acknowledged, with a statemeut that the news re- 
ceived from him was what determined the writer to take Cal. Wood was 
also complimented for his valuable services by the chairman of the senate 
naval committee. Lancey, Cruise, 74-8, quotes Wood, and gives full partic- 
ulars. The services of Parrott, Wood, and James R. Bolton, the latter act- 
ing consul in Parrott's absence, are also recorded in the S. F. Alta, Feb. 25, 
1880; and by A. Williams, in Pioneer Soc. Arch., MS., 120-2. The praise 
due Parrott and the others for their service has been somewhat exaggerated, 
under the mistaken idea that their acts saved Cal. from being taken by Eng- 


18th, and reached Monterey on or about June 20th. 
She brought a letter from Sloat to Larkin, dated May 
18th and marked 'strictly confidential.' The original 
is in my possession, and, as the best means of making 
known the commodore's intentions, I quote as follows : 
''From information I have received from Metamoras, 
it appears certain that hostilities have commenced on 
the north bank of the Rio Grande. It is said the 
Mexicans crossed the river with 1,200 cavalry and 400 
infantry, and fell in with a reconnoitring party of our 
troops of 50 men, which they attacked, killed, and 
captured the whole. It was expected in Metamoras 
that General Taylor would bombard the town next 
day. It is my intention to visit your place immedi- 
ately, and from the instructions I have received from 
my government, I am led to hope that you will be pre- 
pared to put me in possession of the necessary infor- 
mation, and to consult and advise with me on the 
course of operations I may be disposed to make on the 
coast of California. When my force arrives there, I 
shall have the Savannah^ Congress, Portsmouth, Cyane, 
Warren, Levant, and Shark. Of course you will keep 
all this a profound secret until my arrival, as no offi- 
cer of my squadron has any knowledge of my intended 
movements. They are, however, aware that a colli- 
sion has taken place on the north side of the Rio 
Grande between the American and Mexican troops; 
and should this subject get into circulation, you will 
make as light of it as possible, saying that it has been 
only a mere skirmish between the reconnoitring par- 
ties. I shall call off Monterey first, and hope to be 
there as soon as this, which goes by the Cyane. Her 
commander has instructions to advise with you whether 
it is best for him to remain there or proceed to San 
Francisco. I do not think it necessary to write more 
particulars, as I am confident you will understand my 
object. "^^ Sloat's allusion to information which he ex- 

i^May 18, 1846, Sloat to L.arkm, in duplicate. Larkin's Dor^, MS., iv. 122- 
3; Sawyer's Doc, MS., 57-9. 



pected to get from Larkin doubtless signified that he 
knew the nature of the latter's efforts and instructions 
as confidential agent, and hoped to be told by him 
how to raise the flag without opposition from the Cal- 
ifornians. Larkin, however, thought the allusion 
might be to despatches sent him from Washington 
but not received ; and he therefore notified Leidesdorff 
and others to be on the lookout for missing documents 
by an overland courier. ^^ 

But Sloat, though he knew^ that hostilities had be- 
gun, and had once made up his mind to act promptly 
in obedience to his orders, changed his mind, and did 
not start for Monterey. It is not know^n that he re- 
ceived contradictory reports from the east, or that he 
had any reasons for delay, save his natural indecision 
of character. On May 31st he heard of General 
Taylor's battles of the 8th and 9th on the Rio 
Grande ;^^ and this news so restored his wavering de- 
termination, that on the same day he wrote to the 
secretary of the navy: ''I have received such intelli- 
gence as I think will justify my acting upon your 
order of the 24th of June, and shall sail immediately 
to see what can be done."^* His renewed enthusiasm 
did not last long; though about this time he de- 
spatched the Levant under Captain Hugh N. Page to 
Monterey ;'"' and w^e are also told, on authority not 
the best, of a short cruise off the coast and return to 
Mazatlan, all with intent to deceive the English ad- 
miral. ^^ 

^2 June 22d, Larkin to Leidesdorff, Montgomery, et al. Larkin's i)oc., MS., 
iv. 119-20; Sawyer's Doc, MS., 62. June 20th, L. had notified Montgomery 
that Sloat was to come at once. Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., i. 115. 

^' An extract from the Savannah's log, furnished by L. W. Sloat to Dun- 
bar's Romance, 38-9, and also printed in Lancey's Cruise, 78-9, contains this 
entry: 'May 31, 1840, received report of Gen. Taylor's victory over the Mex- 
icans on the 8th and 9th of May.' The news of May 31st, according to Will- 
iams, in Cal. Pioneer Soc. Arch., MS., 120-5, was received by Bolton from a 
German correspondent, Fageman, at Durango. 

^*May 31, 1846, Sloat to sec. navy, in Fremont's Cal. Claims, 70. Sloat 
had asked on May 6th to be relieved from his command on account of failing 
liealth. Id., I'l. 

^*I have found no definite record of the Levant's trip, except that she 
arrived at Monterey on June 30th. Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., i. 96. 

'^Testimony of Lieut Geo. Minor, in Fr6mont'n Cal. Claims, 44. He says 


According to the log of the flag-ship, on June 5th 
the news of Taylor's battles was confirmed, and the 
capture of Matamoros was announced. This, how- 
ever, was by no means enough for the irresolute com- 
modore; and he wrote next day to Secretary Ban- 
croft: ''I have, upon more mature reflection, come to 
the conclusion that your instructions of the 24th of 
June last, and every subsequent order, will not justify 
my taking possession of any part of California, or any 
hostile measures against Mexico (notwithstanding their 
attack upon our troops), as neither party have declared 
war. I shall therefore, in conformity with those in- 
structions, be careful to avoid any act of aggression until 
I am certain one or the other party have done so, or 
until I find that our squadron in the gulf have com- 
menced oflensive operations," announcing, however, 
his intention of proceeding to California to await fur- 
ther intelligence.^^ This extraordinary determination 
was of course not approved at Washington, and brought 
out a severe reprimand for the dilatory commander of 
the squadron. "The department willingly believes in 
the purity of your intentions; but your anxiety not to 
do wrong has led you into a most unfortunate and un- 
warranted inactivity," wrote Bancroft, after dwelling 
on the previous orders and hints to act promptly; and 
on the same day, by reason of failing health, in accord- 
that when the Savannah sailed an English vessel at once started for San Bias, 
apparently to notify the admiral; and on Sloat's return the same manoeuvre 
was repeated. Lancey, Cruise, 78, giv^es a 'sailor's story,' to the eflfect that 
Sloat, suspecting that Seymour was closely watching his movements, resolved 
to verify his suspicion, and put the Englishman off his guard by a Yankee 
trick. So a sham trial was got up, and a man condemned to death, a fact 
much talked about whenever English hearers were present. The Savannah put 
out to sea to hang a 'dummy' at the yard-arm, closely followed and watched 
by a vessel of the rival jfleet. Soon after, a similar affair was planned and 
talked about; but when the ship sailed to execute the sentence, the English- 
man thought it not worth while to watch the operation, and the Savannah 
started unobserved for Cal. ! 

^^June 6, 1846, Sloat to Bancroft, in Fremont's Cal. Claims, 70. Sloat 
continues: 'The want of communication with and information from the de- 
partment and our consul render my situation anything but pleasant; indeed, 
it is humiliating and mortifyiog in the extreme, as by my order I cannot act, 
while it appears to the world that we are actually at war on the other coast. *^ 


ance with his own earHer request, "and for other rea- 
sons," Sloat was relieved of his command.^^ 

Yet again Sloat changed his mind, in time practi- 
cally to nullify the censure of the government, and to 
escape the dishonor in which his removal must other- 
wise have involved him; for long before the commu- 
nications cited above had reached him he had done 
the things which he had been reprimanded for not 
doing, and thus saved his reputation. The Savan- 
nah's log, according to the extract published, has 
this entry: ''June 7th, news received of the blockade 
of Vera Cruz by the American squadron. At 2 p. m. 
got under way for Monterey." In a later report the 
commodore writes : " On the 7th of June I received at 
Mazatlan information that the Mexican troops, six or 
seven thousand strong, had by order of the Mexican 
government invaded the territory of the United States 
north of the Rio Grande, and had attacked the forces 
under General Taylor; and that the squadron of the 
United States were blockading the coast of Mexico on 
the gulf. These hostilities I considered would justify 
my commencing offensive operations on the west coast. 
I therefore sailed on the 8th in the Savannah for the 
coast of California, to carry out the orders of the depart- 
ment of the 24th June, 1845, leaving the Warren at 
Mazatlan to bring me any despatches or information 
that might reach there. "^^ It was probably the report 
of an eastern blockade that determined Sloat's action, 
since in his letter of the 6th he had declared his inten- 
tion of awaiting such news. How this news of June 
7th was received I am not quite certain. Perhaps it 
was through another letter from Parrott and Wood, 
written at the city of Mexico, as several persons state ; 
but there is some confusion in the testimony.^^ I shall 

"Aug. 13, 1846, Bancroft to Sloat. Fremont's Cal. Claims, 71-2. 

^' July 31, 1846, Sloat to Bancroft, in War with Mexico, Repts Operations 
of U. S. Naval Forces, 30th cong. 2d sess., H. Ex. Dec. no. 1, pt ii. p. 2. 
Repeated substantially in report of sec. navy, J>ec. 5, 1846, 29th cong. 2d 
sess., H. Ex. Doc. 4, p. 378; and often elsewhere. 

2° Wood in his narrative says nothing of any despatches from the city of 
Mexico, but implies that those from Guadalajara were the only ones sent to 




notice later the possibility that no such determining 
news was received at all, and that Sloat did not make 
up his mind until after his arrival at Monterey. At 
any rate, the commodore sailed on June 8th for Cali- 
fornia, whither I shall follow him in the next chapter. 

One phase of Sloat's experience at Mazatlan, and 
his voyage to California, yet remains to be noticed; it 
is that arising from his relations wdth Admiral Sey- 
mour, and brings up anew the old subject of English 
designs on California. It was believed at the time 
that England intended to take possession, in the event 
of war, or at least to assume a protectorate, and thus 
keep the territory from the United States. It has 
been the opinion of most Americans ever since, and 
has been stated directly or indirectly by writers on 
the conquest almost without exception, that the rival 
squadrons were closely watching each other s move- 
ments at Mazatlan and San Bias in the spring of 
1846; that there was a contest between the respective 
commanders as to which should first obtain definite 
information that war had been declared, and with it 
reach California; that had Seymour in the Colling - 
wood reached Monterey before Sloat in the Savannah ^ 
the English flag would have been raised instead of the 
stars and strips; but that the commodore, either by 
getting the first news overland, or by sending the ad- 
miral off on a false scent, or by a trick which enabled 
him to sail without the knowledge of his rival, or by 
the superior speed of his flag-ship, won the race, and 

Sloat. Parrott, in an interview printed in the S. F. Alta, Feb. 25, 1880, 
mentions only one despatch. Sloat in his letter of 1845 to Wood speaks of 
the news from Guadalajara as having determined his action, alluding to no 
other communication. This letter is also quoted in Willey's Thirty Years in 
CaL, 14-15. Williams and Lancey, however, on authority not stated, men- 
tion a communication sent from Mexico by Parrott May 23d to Bolton, who 
received it June 7th. Parrott's letter was founded on one received from a 
friend at S. Luis Potosi, and closed with these words: 'You can tell the com- 
modore if he is with you that I did not write to him, because there is too 
much risk; that he has a field open to signalize himself, and I wish him a crown 
of laurels. ' This literal citation indicates that the writers saw the original 
letter, which may have ]>een furnished by Parrott or Bolton. (In a later con- 
versation I understood Mr Williams to confirm this.) 


saved California for his government. The tangible 
facts in the case are the belief of Americans that Eng- 
land intended to occupy the country; the presence at 
Mazatlan of the rival fleets closely watchful one of the 
other; a trip of the Collingwoocl to Monterey, arriving 
about a week after the U. S. flag had been raised; and 
finally, that an Irish subject of Great Britain was at- 
tempting in 1845-6 to obtain Californian lands for 
colonization. The question for consideration is wheth- 
er these facts are a sufficient foundation for the cur- 
rent version of former writers, or whether that version 
may be deemed to rest on mere conjecture and patri- 
otic prejudice. 

In other chapters this subject of English schemes 
lias been fully treated for earlier years; and our inves- 
tigation has shown simply that several travellers had 
praised California highly, had predicted that it could 
not long remain a Mexican possession, had shown the 
ease with which it might be occupied by a foreign 
power, and had dwelt on the advantages to its people 
and to England of its becoming an English province 
rather than a territory of the United States; that 
some popular writers had echoed the desires of the 
travellers, and had ridiculed the claims of the United 
States to any exclusive rights in that direction ; and 
that a part of the English holders of Mexican bonds 
had favored an arrangement by which Californian 
lands for colonization could be taken in payment, or 
as security for the payment, of the debt, though it has 
never clearly appeared that even a majority of the 
bond-holders decided in favor of such an arrangement. 
In 1846 the bond-holders' scheme, so far as outward 
manifestations were concerned, was a thing of the 
past, unless the McNamara project, of which I shall 
speak presently, might be in some way connected with 
it. The only new developments of the year in this 
connection were the undoubted existence of a party 
among the Californians in favor of a British protecto- 
rate, and the well known fears, leading to some diplo- 


matic efforts, of the English government with regard 
to the prospective annexation of Mexican territory to 
the United States in consequence of the war. The 
former subject has been fully presented already; the 
latter requires no further remark, as England made 
no secret of her perfectly natural and legitimate dis- 
favor to the extension of American territory south- 
ward and westward at the expense of Mexico.^^ 

I find nowhere a single word of official utterance to 
indicate that England had the slightest intention or 
desire of obtaining California by conquest or purchase, 
or that she ever gave any encouragement to the col- 
onization plans of her bond-holding subjects. In the 
total absence of any such definite indication, and in view 
of the fact that the testimony in favor of the English 
scheme, though bulky, is composed wholly of mere 
statements of belief from men who like myself have 
had no special facilities for penetrating court secrets 
in London, I have no hesitation in expressing my con- 
viction that England did not deem California a desir- 
able acquisition at the price of serious complications 
with another nation ; and that she knew perfectly well 
that trouble with the United States was sure to re- 
sult from any attempt in that direction. There was 
never any definite plan on the part of the government 
to make California an English possession.^^ 

^^ I refer only to remarks of Bentinck, Palmerston, Disraeli, and others 
in parliament. Aug. 1846, Hansard's Pari. Debates^ Ixxxviii. 978-93, when 
free reference was made to the harm to English interests likely to result from 
the war. See remarks on the policy of England on this matter in my Hist. 

^'^ For testimony in favor of the English schemes, all of the nature indicated 
in my text, see American Review, iii. 87-99; Fremont's Gal. Claims; Debates 
in Congressional Globe, 1847-8; some of the same speeches printed in pamphlet 
or book form, as Dix's Speeches, i. 281-2; S. F. Californian, Oct. 28, Nov. 4, 
1848; Overland Monthly, iii. 156; TuthiWs Hist. Cal, 178-80; Ripley's War 
with Mex., i. 294; Lancey's Cruise; and indeed almost every authority cited 
in this and the following chapters, including manuscript statements of pio- 
neers, and very many newspaper narratives. Writers and speakers in 1846 
and earlier founded their opinions on prevalent national prejudices, on the 
Oregon troubles, on the narratives of English navigators on what was known 
of the bond-holders' affair, and on the suspicions of Larkin and his friends in 
Cal. In 1847-8, during the 'claims' agitation, opinions of many men were 
brought out and exaggerated as testimony to magnify the services of Fremont 
and his Bear Flag battalion. In later times, writers have simply cited the 
Hist. Cal.. Vol. V. U 


In its phase of a proposed protectorate, the matter 
of English intervention assumes, it must be admitted, 
a somewhat different and more plausible aspect. Eng- 
land made no secret of her opposition to any further 
extension of American territory on the Pacific if it 
could be prevented by diplomacy or other means than 
war. There could be little doubt that the United 
States would seize California as soon as war began. 
There was a party of some strength among the Cali- 
fornians, including the governor, in favor of English 
interference ; they would likely have asked for protec- 
tion had a British man-of-war arrived opportunely — 
perhaps did petition for it through an agent sent to 
Mexico.^^ The question is. Had the British govern- 
ment through any authorized agent encouraged or ap- 
proved the scheme? Had Admiral Seymour instruc- 
tions to raise his flag at Monterey? or was he likely to 
assume the responsibility of such an act? If he in- 
tended to do it, the design was by assuming a protec- 
torate, not necessarily to secure permanent possession, 
but to set on foot a long train of diplomatic corre- 
spondence, to prevent the United States being in pos- 
session at the close of the war, and thus indefinitely 
delay if not prevent the dreaded annexation. The 
aim and the methods would have been legitimate 
enough; but was any such purpose entertained or any 
such means devised ? As I have remarked, the theory 
that such was the case is a more plausible one than 
that favoring conquest or purchase ; but that is about 
all that can be said in its favor. There is the same 
absence of all positive or documentary evidence, and 
the same exclusive reliance by its advocates on mere 

testimony of the earlier witnesses of both classes, or more frequently have in 
a spirit of boasting alluded to England's ambition and defeat as matters of 
historic record requiring no support. 

2' Jos6 M. Covarrubias was sent to Mexico, as we have seen, chap, ii., in 
Feb., and he returned at the beginning of July. Bandini, Doc, MS., 85. Pio 
Pico, Hist. Gal. MS., states that Covarrubias was instructed, if not successful 
in Mexico, to call on the English admiral and promise a revolt of California 
on condition of an English protectorate; also that Covarrubias on his return 
reported that Admiral Seymour had spoken favorably of the scheme. 


Opinion and conjecture. I proceed to note some items 
of circumstantial evidence bearing on the subject. 

First : the presence of an unusually strong British 
fleet in the Pacific at this time, and the close and con- 
stant watch kept on the movements of the American 
squadron, are amply accounted for by the pending 
complications of the Oregon question, which it was 
thought might at any time result in war between 
England and the United States. Consequently naval 
operations of a general nature prove nothing respect- 
ing designs on California. Second : the statements of 
different writers respecting the suspicious actions of 
the English naval officers, the methods by which Sloat 
outwitted Seymour, and the race between the Savan- 
nah and Collmgwood, are so contradictory in the mat- 
ter of details, and so inaccurate in respect of minor 
facts, as to more than suggest their lack of solid foun- 
dation.^* Third : some of the theories advanced sug- 

2* Lieut Minor, as we have seen, Fremont's Cal. Claims, 43-5, testified that 
Sloat so manoeuvred as to get away from Mazatlan without Seymour's knowl- 
edge; and ' a sailor, ' Lancey's Cruise, 78, explains the method by which the trick 
was played. According to Minor and others, the Collingwood was at San Bias. 
Benton, Thirty Years' View, ii. 692, says: 'Sloat saw that he was watched and 
pursued by Admiral Seymour, who lay alongside of him, and he determined 
to deceive him. He stood out to sea and was followed by the British admiral. 
During the day he bore west across the ocean, as if going to the S. I. ; Adm. 
Seymour followed. In the night the American commodore tacked and ran up 
the coast toward Cal.; the British admiral, not seeing the tack, continued 
on his course and went entirely to the S. I. before he was undeceived.' Ar- 
ri\'ing in Cal. from Honolulu, 'to his astonishment he beheld the American flag 
flying over Monterey, the American squadron in its harbor, etc. His mission 
was at an end. The prize had escaped him.' Randolph, Oration, says: 'The 
flag of the U. S. was no sooner flying than the Collingwood entered the bay of 
Monterey. There had been a race.' Wm H.Davis, Glimpses, MS., 343-6, 
learned from Capt. Mervine at the time '^t Monterey that the rivals had close- 
ly watched each other; and that the Savannah and Cyane left Mazatlan se- 
cretly by night, fearing that the Collingwood might have pursued them and 
arrived before them at Monterey. But we know that the Cyane had come 
long before. There are other slight inaccuracies, showing that Davis gives the 
common report rather than Mervine's direct testimony. W. S. Green pub- 
lished in the Colusa Sun a statement — which I find in the Bahersfield Courier, 
Sept. 21, 1870, and which was published in several other newspapers — pur- 
porting to have been derived from Sloat s own lips, containing the following: 
A courier arrived from Mexico, bringing despatches to Seymour but none to 
Sloat. Seymour after the arrival of the courier was 'all in all' with the lead- 
ing Mexicans, while they looked daggers at Sloat. The commodore watched 
the movements of the admiral. The line-of-battle ship hove short on her 
anchors and made ready for a voyage. The two little American vessels did 
tlie same. The Collingwood weighed anchor, and with clouds of canvas, etc. 


gest troublesome questions. For instance: Minor and 
others state thajb Sloat left Mazatlan for a short cruise 
and then returned, his departure being promptly made 
known to Seymour. What means could he have 
adopted more likely to start the admiral for California, 
and to insure his arrival there in advance? Or if, as 
Benton says, Sloat sailed as if for Honolulu, but took 
a tack in the night, what necessity was there for Sey- 
mour to follow exactly the same route as his rival? 
Moreover, why should Seymour have been so anxious 
to follow every movement of the Savannah? If he 
intended to raise his flag at Monterey, was it abso- 
lutely essential that Sloat should be present at the 
ceremony? Fourth: Admiral Seymour seems to have 
paid not the slightest attention to the departure of 
the Cyane and Shark and Ports7nouth, and Cyane again, 
and the Levant, any one of which for all he knew 
might have orders to raise the stars and stripes at 
Monterey, and all but one of which were actually 
bound for California waters. Fifth : for a naval com- 
mander to devote all his energies to watching a single, 
ship, and to leave un watched for six months a coast 
of which he intended to take possession, and which 
was likely to fall into a rival's hands, was, to say the 
least, a peculiar proceeding. To the ordinary mind 
California would seem a convenient station for at least 
part of a fleet whose chief mission was to protect or 
conquer that country; and there is no indication that 
the commander of the Juno was instructed to forestall, 
or even to closely watch, the action of the three Amer- 
ican ships. Sixth: Sloat, as we have seen, delayed 
decisive action long after he knew that hostilities had 

Within half an hour the Savannah and Preble (?) were ploughing the bosom of 
the deep, while the mind of the gallant commodore was made up, etc. Sey- 
mour on reaching Monterey told Sloat that only himself and a few leading 
Mexicans knew of the existence of hostilities when he left Mazatlan! See 
also Powers^ Afoot, 316-18. Walpole, Few Years, passim, tells us that the 
Colliwjwood was becalmed oflF the coast, thus delaying her arrival. Cronise, 
Nat. Wealth ofCal., 69, says the English vessel arrived within 24 hours after 
the Savannah. Others simply say the Savannah outsailed her rival, or that 
Sloat won on account of getting the news of war first through Parrott. Thus 
it is seen that the evidence is meagre as well as contradictory. 


begun, unable to make up his mind, and disregarding 
his instructions. Are we to suppose that Seymour, 
who, as there is no reason to doubt, knew practically 
as much of events on the Rio Grande as did Sloat, 
was equally timid and irresolute? Or that he deemed 
it his duty to copy his rival's stupid blunders as well 
as to watch his ship? Truly, his delay was inexcus- 
able if his mission was as alleged; and there was no 
later success, as in Sloat's case, to relieve him of the 
blame. Seventh : what, indeed, was the need for the 
admiral to wait for definite news of war at all? Why 
might he not, if he had such a design as is imputed 
to him, have raised the flag in June as well as in July? 
The rapid increase of American immigration, or cer- 
tainly tlie acts of the Bears, afforded a plausible pre- 
text for acceding to the request of Governor Pico and 
his friends. Sloat of course required positive evidence 
of hostilities, because his proposed action in California 
was one of war, and by acting hastily, he might com- 
promise his government; but Seymour had no warlike 
project in view; he was merely to assume protection 
of a people at the request of its authorities. It is dif- 
ficult to understand in what respect his act would 
have been more compromising to his government, or 
more offensive to the United States, just before than 
just after the declaration of war. Eighth and finally: 
there was nothing in the circumstances attending Sey- 
mour's visit to Monterey, July 16th-23d, to sustain 
the theory that he had meditated interference. He 
and Sloat exchanged the customary courtesies without 
the slightest disturbance of amicable relations; and 
having obtained from the Americans a set of spars 
for his vessel, he sailed away for the Sandwich Islands 
without meddling in politics, or commenting, so far as 
may be known, on the change of flag.^° 

■■^•^In reality, little is known of the CoUingwood's trip, except the date of 
her arrival at Monterey. Lieut Fred. Walpole of that vessel wrote Four 
Years in the Pacific, Lond. 1840, 8vo, 2 vol.; but he pays little or no atten- 
tion to politics or to details of the vessel's movements. That part of his book 
relating to Cal. is found in vol. ii. p. 204-19. He gives a little sketch of the 


I would not flippantly assert that previous writers 
have fallen into error on a matter like this, where 
from the nature of the case no positive proof against 
them can be adduced ; but in the absence of like proof 
in their favor, it has seemed well to consider the at- 
tendant circumstances; and these, as I think the 
reader will agree, point almost irresistibly to the con- 
clusion that the danger of English intervention in any 
form was a mere bugbear; that the race between the 
Savannah and Collingivood was purely imaginary. 
The contrary belief has been a fascinating one for 
Americans; it is agreeable to dwell on a contest in 
which we have been the winners. But the satisfaction 
in this case is not well founded, and there is no reason 
to believe that there was any intention of raising the 
English flag in California. The reason why the pro- 
ject of a protectorate, if considered, was not approved, 
was probably, as in the matter of conquest or purchase, 
that 'the game was not worth the candle,' especially 
as the candle was likely enough to assume the propor- 

Bear Flag revolt and other current events, noting particularly the appearance 
and character of Fremont's trappers. On the subject now under consideration 
he says: 'On the morning of the 16th of July, 1846, after a long voyage, we 
were becalmed off the coast of Cal. in the bay of Monterey, and, toward the 
afternoon, anchored amidst a crowd of American vessels of war. To our as- 
tonishment we found that they had only a few days before taken possession 
of the place, hoisted the American colors, and planted a garrison in the town.' 
There is no indication that the vessel came by way of Honolulu, as some 
writers state. Green, in the newspaper article already cited as purporting to- 
come from Sloat, relates a conversation between him and Seymour, which is- 
to be regarded as purely imaginary. In his report of July 31st, Sloat men- 
tions Seymour's arrival on the 16th, and departure on the 23d, and the inter- 
change of friendly courtesies. Sloat thought his coming strengthened the 
American cause by convincing the natives that he would not interfere. Niles* 
Beg., Ixxi. 133. July 23d, Sloat notifies Montgomery of Seymour's presence 
and his friendly conduct. War with Mex., Repts Oper. Navy, 29. Phelps, 
Fore and Aft, 295, and Dunbar, Romance, 40, state that Seymour frankly told 
Sloat that he had intended to raise the English flag. Colton, Three Years, p. 
13-14, notes the holding of a meeting after the flag was raised to discuss the 
question of asking English protection; and he quotes the facetious argument 
of one Don Rafael (Gonzalez ?) against it. The same writer, however. Deck 
and Port, 393, says: ' It has often been stated by American writers that the 
admiral intended to raise the English flag in Cal., and would have done it had 
we not stolen the march on him. I believe nothing of the kind; the allega- 
tion is a mere assumption, unwarranted by a single fact.' Nidever, Life and 
Adven., MS., 130, and Swasey, Cal. '45-6, MS., 13-14, mention an exhibition 
of marksmanship by Fremont's men which delighted the officers of the Colling*- 
wood, and reduced their store of silver dollars. 


tions of a foreign war. It is well to note finally that 
the conclusion reached deprives the Bear Flag cause 
of the only merit that could ever with any plausibility 
be attributed to it, that of having saved California 
from English rule through the influence of Fremont's 
action in hastening Sloat's movements. 

The McNamara colonization scheme, though it car- 
ries me back to 1845, and forward some days past the 
raising of the stars and stripes, is treated here because 
it has commonly been considered a part of the gen- 
eral scheme of English interference. Of Eugene Mc- 
Namara, except in connection with the affair in ques- 
tion, we know only that he was ^'a native of Ireland, 
catholic priest, and apostolic missionary." Before 
August 1845, and probably in the spring of that year, 
he asked the president of Mexico for a grant of land 
in California, to be occupied by an Irish colony. His 
avowed object was threefold. "I wish in the first 
place," he said, "to advance the cause of Catholicism. 
In the second, to contribute to the happiness of my 
countrymen. Thirdly, I desire to put an obstacle in 
the way of further usurpations on the part of an irre- 
ligious and anti-catholic nation." He eulogized the 
Irish as the best of colonists, ''devout catholics, mor- 
al, industrious, sober, and brave." He proposed to 
bring over one thousand families as a beginning, each 
to have a square league of land, and this first colony 
to be located on the bay of San Francisco; a second 
would be established later near Monterey; and a third 
at Santa Bd-rbara. He desired for a time exemption 
from taxes; and claimed to have the approval of the 
archbishop of Mexico. There being some hesitation 
on the part of the government, McNamara again 
urged the advantages of his project and the necessity 
of prompt action. *'If the means which I propose be 
not speedily adopted, your Excellency may be assured 
that before another year the Californias will form a 
part of the American nation. Their catholic institu- 


tions will become the prey of the methodist wolves; 
and the whole country will be inundated with these 
cruel invaders;" but ten thousand Irishmen ''will be 
sufficient to repel at the same time the secret intrigues 
and the open attacks of the American usurpers." In 
this communication the petitioner asked for land to 
be hypothecated in payment of the colonists' travel- 
ling expenses; and also for the customs duties at San 
Francisco for a term of years. ^^ 

The government was disposed to look with favor 
upon the scheme; though of course there was no 
thought of granting coast lands, or least of all, at the 
ports mentioned by the priest ;^^ and though there 
were not wanting those in Mexico who believed Irish 
settlers more likely to side with the Yankees than 
the Mexicans.^^ We know very little of the negotia- 
tions in Mexico, but on August 11th, Minister Cue- 
vas, in a communication to Jose M. Hijar, announced 
that McNamara, highly recommended by the arch- 
bishop and others, would come to California with Ini- 
cstra's expedition. Hijar was instructed to treat him 
well, to examine his project, and to consult with the 
governor with a view to advise the government what 
was best to be done.^^ There is no evidence, how- 
ever, that Hijar ever received this communication. 

In January 1846, under a new administration, Mc- 
Namara was informed by Minister Castillo Lanzas 
that his memorial and plan, in accordance with the 

2* McNamara's petitions to the president. In Spanish with translations, in 
Fremont's Cal. Claims, 19-21, 77-9. The documents have no date, and it is 
not stated where they were found; but there is no reason to doubt their au- 
thenticity. Most of the matter on the subject is given, from the above source, 
in the Honolulu Polynesian, v, 103; and S. F. Cal/fornian, Oct. 28, Nov. 
4, 1848. 

27Dix, in his speech of March 29, 1848, Dix's Speeches, i. 2G2-81; Cong. 
Globe, 1847-8, p. 5G0-1, reviews the subject, and conveys the impression that 
the final grant did include, besides the bay of S. F., some of the best lands 
and most important military and commercial positions in Cal. ! Mayer, Mex- 
ico Aztec, i. 343-5, says ' the govt of Mexico granted 3,000 sq. leagues in the 
rich valley of S. Joaquin, embracing 8. Francisco, Monterey, and Sta Bdrbara' ! 

■■'^In the Amigo del Pueblo, Oct. 25, 1845, we read: '^Todavia no se co- 
noce que todo 6l que hable el idioma ingles ha de tener mas simpatfas hdcialos 
lapaces Yankees que hdcia nosotros ? ' 

2' Aug. 11, 1845, Cuevasto Hijar. Fremont's Cal. Claims, 23. 


opinion of the council, would be submitted to con- 
gress.^*^ The documentary result is not extant; but 
whether congress acted on the subject or not, the 
empresario doubtless obtained some encouragement 
but no positive promises from the government with a 
recommendation to go to California, select lands suit- 
able for his purpose, and submit his project in regular 
form to the departmental authorities.^^ The Iniestra 
expedition not being likely to start soon, if ever, the 
padre took passage on H. B. M. ship Juno for Mon- 
terey, where he arrived before the middle of June, 
or possibly at the end of May. There is no informa- 
tion extant about the Junos visit, except that she left 
Monterey on June 17th, was at Santa Bd^rbara on 
July 1st, and returning, arrived on July 11th at San 
Francisco.^^ Making known his project to Larkin 
and probably to others, McNamara sailed still on the 
Juno for the south to see the bishop and negotiate 
with the governor. On July 1st at Santa Bdrbara 
he submitted his proposition in writing to Pico, hav- 
ing perhaps first broached the subject to him a week 
earlier. ^^ His plan, which had ''received the benign 
cooperation of the venerable and illustrious arch- 
bishop of Mexico, and the cordial recognition of the 
supreme government," was now to bring as soon as 
possible 2,000 Irish families, or 10,000 souls; and he 

^° Jan. 19, 1846, Castillo Lanzas to McNamara. 30th Cong. 1st Sess., Sen. 
Jtept, 75, p. 22. 

^^ To Larkin on his arrival McNamara said that Pres. Herrera had approved 
the scheme; but that the new president made objections, on the ground that 
the Irish would join the Americans, and that he wanted no English-speaking 
colonists. Larkin'' s Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 65. 

22 She arrived before June 11th. Larkin^ s Off. Corresp., MS., i. 90. In a 
later letter Larkin states incidently that she arrived in May. Id.^ ii. 81. In 
Id., ii. 65, he writes, June 18th, that she arrived, and left for Sta Bdrbara 
'yesterday.' July 11th, Montgomery to Sloat. The Juno arrived to-day 
and anchored at 'Sausolita' (Sauzalito). 30th Cong. 2d Sess. y H. Ex. Doc, i. 
pt ii. p. 16. 

2' In the record of the assembly action of July 6th, Leg. Bee, MS., iv. 
363-4, the governor's communication to that body is said to have been dated 
June 24th; and the same date is mentioned in another record of July 7th. 
Fremont's Cal. Claims, 25. Still another says it was written June 24th and 
submitted on July 2d. Bandini, Doc, MS., 87. Tliere may therefore be 
some error in the printed date of July 1st, or there may have been more than 
one communication. 


asked for a grant of the land selected between the 
San Joaquin River and the Sierra Nevada, from the 
Cosumnes southward to the extremity of the Tulares, 
near San Gabriel. This petition was sent by Pico to 
the assembly, with documents relating to the project 
and with his approval.^* Lataillade, the Spanish vice- 
consul, also wrote a letter describing and advocating 
the colonization scheme. ^^ On July 6th the matter 
was brought up in a session of the assembly at Los 
Angeles, and was referred to a committee consisting 
of Arguello and Bandini. Their report, rendered 
next day in an extra session and approved, was favor- 
able to McNamara's petition, and recommended that 
the grant be made under certain conditions; the most 
important of which were that land should be granted 
only in proportion to the number of colonists present- 
ing themselves; that the title should not be suscepti- 
ble of hypothecation or transfer to any foreign gov- 
ernment or other ownership; and that sections of 
good land should be reserved in the region granted.^® 
The committee further recommended that the depart- 
mental government should petition congress to allow 
the colonists exemption from taxes for a number of 
years; and also for the introduction free of duties of 
$100,000 worth of merchandise for each 1,000 colo- 

^* July 1, 1846, McNamara to Pico, and Pico to assembly. FHmont^a Cal, 
Claims, 23. See also references in note 33. 

'^ July 2d, L. to Bandini. Bandini, Doc, MS., 84. The writer says there 
were difficulties in Mexico on account of prospective expenses; but now 
he understands that the English crown will bear the expense. He favors 
the plan, because it will create a barrier both against the Indians and the 
Americans. He foresees the raising of the stars and stripes in case of war; 
but thinks a period of anarchy will ensue until a regular government is es- 
tablished, during which the country will be overrun by hordes of lawless 
strangers; and that while the Irish colonists could not be expected for sev- 
eral years, the title to lands being acquired, England would protect it and 
keep the Lands from the possession of adventurers. 

•^^ July 7, 1846, report of special com. on McNamara grant. Original blotter 
in Bandini, Doc. , MS. , 87. Also in Leg. Bee. , MS. , iv. 364-8. The tract speci- 
fied within which the colony lands were to be selected — without prejudice to 
former grants and with the reservation of alternate sections — was ' on the 
river San Joaquin and towards the Tulares, on the southern extremity of the 
lagoons or said tulares, between the latter and the Sierra Nevada, and on the 
river of Las Animas and its region as far as the Cajon de Muscupiabe, near 
San Bernardino.' 


This favorable action of the assembly was for- 
warded to Pico on the same day.^^ It reached Santa 
Barbara probably on the 8th; but the governor, 
it will be remembered, had started a day or two 
earlier for the north, and did not reach that town on 
his return until the 12th or 13th. Then he doubtless 
made out and signed in due form a grant to McNamara, 
subject to the approval of the national government. 
The terms and conditions of the grant were substan- 
tially as fixed by the assembly, it being specified, 
however, that the tract was to be wholly in the in- 
terior, tw^enty leagues from the coast; that each of 
the 3,000 families — instead of 2,000 as before — 
should have one league, or less if the tract should not 
sufiice; and that any excess should be reserved by 
the government.^^ Thus far all had been appar- 
ently regular and in accordance with legal formali- 
ties. But it is to be noted that the final grant, as 
extant in print — I have not seen the original manu- 
script — is dated at Santa Barbara on July 4th. If 
the document was really signed on that date, it was 
in advance of legislative action and invalid; other- 
wise it was signed after the 12th, and fraudulently 
dated back, in consequence of Pico's having learned 
on his northern trip that the United States flag 
had been raised on the 7th. 

With his grant McNamara went up to Monterey. 
There he explained to Larkin the nature of his scheme 
somewhat more fully; informed him that he was act- 
ing for a private company in London; showed him 
the title — bearing date of July 4th, which shows that 
date to be not merely a misprint — and asked his opin- 
ion whether the United States would recognize its 

3' July 7th, Figueroa, president, and Botello, sec, to Pico. Fremonfs Cat. 
Claims, 25. July 8th, Bandini to Lataillade, in reply to letter of 2d, already 
cited. Has done what he could for McNamara, who appears to be satisfied. 
Bandiniy Doc, MS., 88. July 8th, Botello to Moreno. Has been busy with 
the McNamara affair, which he warmly approves. Moreno, Doc. Hist. CaL, 

^^ July 4, 1846, Pico's grant to McNamara. Translation from original, in 
FHmoni's Cal. Claims, 23-5. 



validity. Larkin told him the governor could not 
grant more than eleven leagues in a single deed; and 
the reverend empresario sailed on the Collingwood for 
Honolulu en route to Mexico.^^ No attempt was ever 
made to secure recognition of the title in California. 
It is said, however, that the grant was in Mexico re- 
ferred to the 'direccion de colonizacion 6 industria,' 
which body reported adversely on several grounds — 
chiefly that the price fixed by law^ for the territory in 
question, but which McNamara had not even prom- 
ised to pay, was about $71,000,000! In spite of this 
report, it appears that the colonization committee of 
congress approved the project; and that is the last 
we hear of it.*^ 

Such is the history of the famous McNamara col- 
onization project. It appears that a company of spec- 
ulators in London, taking the hint perhaps from the 
efforts of the Mexican bond-holders in past years, if 
not composed in part of the same men — though there 
is no evidence on that point — and foreseeing that in 
American or other hands Californian lands were likely 
to increase very rapidly in value, resolved to become 
the possessors of as large a tract as possible. To avoid 
opposition from the authorities in a catholic country, 
a priest was employed to negotiate in the name of an 
Irish colony. There was probably no expectation of 

'''Aug. 22, 1846, Larkin to sec. state. Larkin' s Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 81. 

**'I have not found any original record of these actions, which are, how- 
ever, unimportant on account of their date after the American occupation of 
Cal. I find the information given above with some details in the Honolulu 
Polynesian, iv. 50, Aug. 11, 1847; quoted also in S. F. Californian, Sept. 29, 
1847. It is to be noted that in this account the legislative action is dated July 
3d, and the grant July 4th. On Sept. 27th McNamara wrote from Hono- 
lulu to J. A. Forbes a letter quoted in Hartmann''8 Brief in Mission Cases, 65. 
After raving about the 'asinine stupidity of old Aberdeen' in settling the Or- 
egon question, and referring to his scheme for working the quicksilver mines, 
he says: ' I am also very desirous of doing something about that grant of land. 
I will give the Yankees as much annoyance as I possibly can in the matter. ' 
Velasco, Sonora, 310, says the grant was confirmed by Santa Anna, and that 
McNamara went to Europe to make arrangements; but that litigation is ex- 
pected. Besides the works I have cited, see on the McNamara scheme, Bid- 
weWs Cal. I84I-8, MS., 151-2, 170; Coronel, Cosas de Cal., MS., 69; First 
Steamship Pioneers, 170-1; Hesperian, iii. 387; Upharn's Life Frdmont, 240-1; 
Cronise's Nat. Wea'th Cal., 69; Lancey's Cruise, 54-5; Tinkharn'a Hist, Stock- 
ion, 92; Yolo Co. Hist., 25; and many newspaper accounts. 


ever sending to California any such number of families 
as was talked about; but it was thought that a title 
might be acquired to lands of great value. In order 
to get as much as possible on the most favorable con- 
ditions, and with the least possible delay, advantage 
was shrewdly taken of the bitter feeling against all 
that was American. The scheme met with as much 
favor as could have been shown to any measure that 
had to be submitted to two opposing administrations ; 
but evoked little enthusiasm even in Mexico. And 
when the speculating preshitero arrived in California, 
where colonization on a large scale had ahvays been a 
popular idea, with all his special inducements of op- 
position to the Yankee invaders and lobos metodistas, 
he found the authorities by no means in a hurry to 
disregard the laws and put him in possession of the 
whole department. He obtained little more than any 
presumably responsible man might have obtained in 
ordinary circumstances — the concession of an immense 
tract of land, valueless then and nearly so for many 
years later, away from the coast, inhabited by gentile 
tribes, of extent in proportion to the actual number of 
colonists sent to occupy it, with title not transferable 
— hampered, in fact, by all the legal conditions. The 
chance for speculation on a grand scale was not very 
apparent. It may be doubted that the London com- 
pany would have cared for the grant even had their 
clerical agent not been obliged to tell them that it was 
fraudulently antedated. At any rate it would have 
been sold at a low figure to some Yankee speculator 
during the subsequent years of litigation. 

Respecting the international or political aspects of 
the McNamara project, there is not much to be said; 
though it is to that phase of the matter that writers 
have chiefly devoted their attention. Most of them 
state it as an unquestioned fact that the colony was 
simply a part of the general plan of the English gov- 
ernment to get possession of California ; and failed, just 
as the main plan failed, because the British agents were 


too late. Had there been any such plan — and I have 
proved to my own satisfaction there was not — it would 
still be necessary to pronounce its relation to the colony 
scheme purely conjectural. It is not unlikely that the 
promoters of the colony, like the bond-holders of earlier 
years, hoped to acquire a title which should eventually 
attract the attention and secure the protection of 
the British government. It is also probable that in 
Mexico, and tolerably certain that in California, Mc- 
Namara, to advance his interests, sought to give the 
impression that to grant his petition would be to secure 
English favor; but that the government secretly fa- 
vored the scheme in any way, I find no evidence. In- 
deed, the establishment of 10,000 Irish colonists in a 
country as a means of acquiring peaceful possession 
of the same was hardly a method that would at any 
time have commended itself to the favor of her 
Britannic Majesty. 

After the conquest it was claimed that McNamara's 
intrigues for an immense land grant had been one of 
the chief motives of the Bear Flag revolt; and in the 
investigation of 'California claims' in 1848, a leading 
point made by Fremont and his friends was that the 
revolt alone had prevented the success of that scheme, 
and had thus saved for American settlers an immense 
tract of valuable land. A dozen witnesses or more 
testified positively that such was undoubtedly the fact. 
I do not believe that anything whatever was known 
of McNamara or his scheme north of the bay before 
June 14th, if indeed it was known before July 7th; 
but this of course cannot be proved/ especially if, as 
Larkin states in one letter, the Juno arrived in May ;^^ 
and it must be admitted that such a knowledge would 
have been an argument of some force with the set- 

*^ June 18th, as we have seen, was the earliest date on which anything 
appears on the subject in contemporary documents at Monterey; and June 
24th in the south. That Larkin knew of it a week or more and informed the 
settlers in the north, before he wrote on the subject to the sec. state, is not 
very probable. I suppose, moreover, that his statement in Off. Corresp., MS., 
ii. 81, that McNamara arrived in May may have been a slip of the pen on the 
part of his clerk. 


tiers. However this may have been, the second prop- 
osition that the revolt put a stop to this and other 
grants by Pico to Englishmen is a manifest absurdity ; 
since not only is it certain that it had no such effect, 
but obviously its tendency must have been to cause 
the governor to make haste in disposing of the public 
domain. Moreover, it is by no means certain that 
the success of the colony and a recognition by the 
United States of the grant as valid would have been 
an unmixed evil. 



July, 1846. 

Arrival of Sloat in the 'Savannah' — Events of a Week — More Hesi- 
tation — Fremont's Claim — Larkin's Influence — Despatches from 
Montgomery — Resolution — Occupation of Monterey— Sloat's Proc- 
lamation — The Stars and Stripes at San Francisco — Documentary 
Record — The Bear Flag Lowered at Sonoma — At Sutter's Fort — 
The Change at San Jose — Fr^imont and his Battalion March 
Southward — Occupation of San Juan — The Bears at Monterey — 
Fr^^mont and Sloat — The Commodore's Disappointment — The Fili- 
buster's Dilemma — Comfort from a New Commodore — Stockton 
Arrives in the 'Congress' — And Assumes Command — The Battalion 
Mustered in — And Sent to the South — Departure of Sloat. 

Commodore Sloat, in his flag-ship, the Savannah, 
coming from Mazatlan, arrived at Monterey, where 
he found the CyanCy Captain Mervine, and the Le- 
vant, Captain Page — the Portsmouth, Captain Mont- 
gomery, being at San Francisco — on the 1st or 2d of 
July. I And no means of determining accurately 
which is the correct date, though perhaps the pref- 
erence should be given to the second.^ A midship- 

^ Sloat, in his report of July 31st, U. S. Govt Doc, 31st cong. 1st seas., H. 
Ex. Doc, i. pt ii., p. 2, says he arrived on July 2d; and this date has been 
taken by most writers from his statement. The fragment of the log pub- 
lished by Lancey and Dunbar reads: 'July 1st, stood into the harbor of Mon- 
terey and came to anchor at 4 r. M., in front of the town. . .The captain of the 
port, accompanied by Mr Hartwell [Hartnell], attached to the custom-house 
called. Cyane and Levant in port.' The difference between sea and land 
time may be made to account for this entry in the log; but Larkin, in several 
communications of the period, dates the arrival on the 1st; while in an- 
other he says it was the 2d. Lieut Minor speaks of a * passage of 23 days,' 
leaving Mazatlan on June 8th, which would make the arrival not later than. 
July 1st. Midshipman Wilson, in his testimony, says it was July 2d. 



man on the frigate states that the commodore sent 
an officer ashore to tender the usual civihties, by of- 
fering to salute the Mexican flag, which honor was de- 
clined for want of powder for a return salute.^ I 
have two original letters before me, bearing date of 
July 2d, one of them in Sloat's handwriting, asking 
if there is any objection to his men landing for 
twenty-four hours in squads of 100; the other, writ- 
ten by his son and secretary, proposing to land and 
take a ride with the consul next morning.^ Accord- 
ing to the log, it was also on the 2d that Larkin made 
a long call on the commodore, and on his departure 
was saluted with nine guns. Next day Sloat landed 
to call on the authorities. Of festivities on the 
4th, we know only that the ship was dressed and 
salutes were fired. Religious service was performed 
on Sunday, the 5th, by Lieutenant Trapin; and on 
the same day the Portsmoutli s launch arrived from 
Yerba Buena with despatches from Montgomery. 
The 6th was passed by Sloat and Larkin on board 
the frigate, in preparing proclamations and corre- 
spondence, of which I shall speak presently. Noth- 
ing more is known of actual events at Monterey 
from the 1st to the 6th of July. 

We have seen that Sloat, with a sufficiently definite 
knowledge of hostilities on the Rio Grande, had long 
hesitated to obey his orders from Washington. After 
several changes of mind on the subject, he had on 
June 6th announced his intention to proceed to Cali- 
fornia, but not to take possession until he should hear 
of a formal declaration of war or of offensive opera- 
tions by the gulf squadron. Next day he received 
additional despatches, supposed to have included a 
report that the gulf ports had been blockaded; and on 

2 Wilson's testimony in Fremont's Cat. Claims, 40-1. He says the officers 
wondered that Sloat should have made this oflfer, knowing of the Mexican 

^ July 2d, Com. Sloat and L. W. Sloat to Larkin. Larkin's Doc, MS., 
iv. 193-4. The consul is also thanked for books and quicksilver ore, and is 
informed that the men, if they make some noise, will also spend $1,000 or 
$1,500 in doing it. 

Hist. Cal., Vol, V. 15 


the 8th he sailed for Monterey. According to his 
own official report, he had resolved at the time of sail- 
ing to raise the flag in California in consequence of 
the latest news/ His delay of six days after arrival 
before acting, however, in itself seems to indicate that 
his vacillation did not end with the departure from 
Mazatlan. Fremont and his friends point to Sloat's 
letter of June 6th as showing his purpose when he 
left Mazatlan; to his delay at Monterey and friendly 
relations with Mexican authorities there; to the gen- 
eral impression on board the ships that Sloat's final 
action was determined by the receipt on July 5th of 
Montgomery's despatches announcing the acts of the 
revolutionists. And in addition to this, Frdmont and 
Gillespie testify positively that Sloat in his first inter- 
view with them gave them distinctly to understand 
that he had acted upon the faith of their operations in 
the north, and was greatly troubled on learning that 
they had acted without authority.^ 

Thus was founded a claim that it was Fremont's 
acts that caused Sloat to take possession of California 
for the United States. The claim was to a certain 
extent well founded. Fremont's operations did un- 
questionably have an influence in removing Sloat's 
doubts and strengthening his purpose; though it was 
by no means the only influence in that direction; and 
though, had it been so, the chief merit claimed for it, 
that of having saved the country from England, can- 
not be accorded to the rebels. I find no reason to 
doubt that Sloat, as he claimed, left Mazatlan and 
arrived at Monterey with a determination — as strong 
as such a man in such circumstances could entertain — 
to obey his orders and seize the country. His hesita- 
tion, very much less inexcusable here than before on 
the Mexican coast, began at his first interview with 

* War with Mez., Report Naval Operations, p, 2. Sloat to sec. navy, 
Julv 3l8t. 

* Testimony of Fremont, Gillespie, Wilson, and Minor, in Fremont's Cal. 
Claims, 1.3, 32, 41, 44-5; see also Benton's Speech of April 10, 1848; Cong 
Globe, 1847-8, p. 604-6; G. H.. in S. F. Cal. Star and Calif., Dec. 9, 1848. 


Larkin, and was largely due to the consul's influence. 
He learned, it is true, that the American settlers were 
in revolt, and that the Californian authorities were 
popularly believed to be in favor of English interfer- 
ence, both circumstances calculated in themselves to 
strengthen his purpose; but at the same time he 
learned that the cooperation of Fremont and Gilles- 
pie with the insurgents was not positively known, and 
that Larkin did not now apprehend any trouble from 
the McNamara scheme, or from Pico's favor to an 
English protectorate. He had not expected definite 
news or orders from the Rio Grande, or from Wash- 
ington; but he had hoped to find something to support 
his resolve in the secret instructions of Larkin and 
Gillespie. He now learned that those documents 
contained nothing in addition to his own instructions, 
and that they were devoted chiefly to a plan of ac- 
quiring the country by voluntary separation from 
Mexico, to be followed by annexation — a plan under 
which Larkin had been and still was at work with 
much hope of success. Larkin was not in sympathy 
with the Bear Flag movement. He was embarrassed 
in his efforts by it, and puzzled by the reported connec- 
tion of United States officers with it; and he did not 
favor, or later wholly approve, the forcible occupation 
of the country, where he confidently expected to see 
the stars and stripes raised voluntarily by the Cali- 
fornians. That the views of so prominent a citizen, 
at the same time U. S. consul and confidential agent 
of the administration, should have had great influence 
with the commodore is not to be wondered at. A 
much more resolute man might have wavered under 
such circumstances. Both, however, were wrong. 
Larkin, well founded as were his hopes, had no right 
to suppose that his government intended to put ofl* the 
military occupation in case of war, or that such occu- 
pation could under the circumstances be effected in 
the immediate future with the entire approval of the 


inhabitants and authorities. And Sloat should have 
obeyed his instructions literally and without delay.^ 
Both Sloat and Larkin being much perplexed as to 
what should be done — the former inclining to action 
and the latter to delay — on the afternoon of Sunday 
the 5th the PortsmoutJis launch, under Passed Mid- 
shipman N. B. Harrison, arrived with despatches 
from Montgomery. The boat had been delayed by 

•'Larkin's position in this matter is by no means a theory, though aa 
such it might be consistently and successfully presented, the consul's general 
views being clearly enough recorded. I have a statement by Larkiii himself 
bearing directly on the subject. He says: 'It was known to the commodore 
and the U. S. consul that a severe battle had taken place at or near Mata- 
moros, . . . yet there was no certainty in California that war was declared. On 
the first or second day after the commodore's arrival in this port, he informed 
this consulate that he thought it of tlie greatest importance that he should 
land his marine force and take possession of Monterey. Without official in- 
formation, either by the commodore or myself, I hesitated to take possession 
of California by force of arms, and preferred that the civil governor and mili- 
tary commandant should place their country under the protection of our gov- 
ernment. This subject had been canvassed repeatedly by myself and certain 
persons in command on shore, and partially agreed upon should emergencies 
create the necessity. Some of the town authorities and a few principal citizens 
of Mexico in Monterey, while the Savannah lay at anchor, favored the plan 
and proposed to send expresses to Gen. Castro and Gov. Pico. . .There was 
during this peiiod a rising of foreigners, most of them unknown in the settle- 
ments, at the Sacramento Biver and jurisdiction of Sonoma. These circum- 
stances urged many Californians in July 184G to view with high favor the 
plan of coming under a peaceable protection of a foreign government. There 
was a fair prospect of the commandant general and some or all the authorities 
of Monterey coming into the arrangement; but it required at least ten days 
to come to a conclusion. On the 4th or 5th of the month a proposition was 
thought of in Monterey by some of the citizens to seize on the American con- 
sul and carry him oft', in order to make further motives to the ship's forces to 
land. Com. Sloat became more and more anxious to land and hoist our flag. 
Early on Sunday [it should be Monday] morning of the Gth of July, he sent a 
boat on shore for the U. S. consul, who was received in the commodore's cabin 
with the exclamation, "We must take the place! I shall be blamed for doing 
too little or too much— I prefer the latter. " ' Copy in Sawyer's Doc, MS. , 84- 
7, of wliat seems to be a memorandum left by Larkin among his papers. It 
was apparently written considerably later than 1846. He gets into confusion 
in the dates, making the Gth and 7th Sunday and Monday, instead of Monday 
and Tuesday. He also makes the PortfmontJi'H laimch arrive in the afternoon 
of the same day that he spent with Sloat, who had made up his mind in the 
morning; but that is evidently an error. He adds: *It is not improbable but 
the possession of the country would have been postponed a few days longer 
had not Com. Sloat been apprehensive that Admiral Seymour on H. M. ship 
of the line Collingwood would .soon be in port and might wish to hoist the 
English flag there.' In a letter of July 4th to the consul in Honolulu, Larkin 
says: 'I closed my Oahu mail last night, supposing that some 15 soldiers sent 
in from Castro last night might have earned me off. I suppose, however, 
they did not think of it; although two days back they had it in contempla- 
tion. In the mean time I am drenming of trying to persuade the Californians 
to call on the commodore for protection, hoist his flag, and be his country- 
men, or the Bear may destroy them.' LarJcin's Off. Corresx>., MS., i. 99. 


contrary winds, having perhaps left San Prancisco on 
the morning of July 3d. The despatches to Sloat, if 
there were any such/ are not extant, but I have be- 
fore me a communication from Montgomery to Lar- 
kin, dated July 2d, with two postscripts, in which 
were announced Torre's retreat with Fremont's latest 
achievements, the spiking of the guns at San Fran- 
cisco, and the capture of Ridley.^ This document 
was probably brought by the launch, and was perhaps 
the decisive one. At any rate, there can be little 
doubt that the latest news from the northern frontier, 
and especially the definite announcement that Fre- 
mont was acting with the insurgents,^ was the last 
straw which — strengthened the camel's back to bear 
the burden of responsibility. With clear orders from 
his superiors at Washington, with positive knowl- 
edge of hostilities on the Rio Grande, with the ever 
present fear of being anticipated by the English ad- 
miral, and with importunities, as is very likely, on the 
part of his commanders,^^ Commodore Sloat dared no 
longer hesitate, especially as he now foresaw the op- 
portunity, in case the seizure should prove to have 
been premature, like that of Jones in 1842, of throw- 
ing part of the responsibility upon Fremont. 

' Wilson testified that the arrival was on the 5th. Larkin says it was 
Sunday. Lancey, Cruise, 79, says the passage was 56 hours, on authority 
not stated. In any case, it is not probable that Montgomery knew of Sloat's 
arrival; yet, as he expected him, he may have addressed despatches to him, 
all the same. 

sjuly 2d, M. to L. Larkin's Doc, MS., iv. 192. He writes: 'I feel very 
desirous to learn something more definite concerning the mysteries referred 
to in them (your letters). Were I enlightened respecting the future designs 
of our go\t, or concerning tlie actual condition of afiFairs with Mex., I could 
probably do much in the present crisis toward accomplishing objects in view. 
My neutral position, while all is stirring and exciting about me, renders us 
quiet spectators of passing events. I am looking for the arrival at this port 
of both commodores; as this must be the point of all important operations. ' 

^Larkin, in the document cited in note 6, says that definite news was 
now received of what had before been mere confused rumors; but this is ex- 
aggeration, for he already knew tolerably well what was being done at So- 

^° Davis, Glimpses, MS., 345-6, learned from Capt. Mervine that there 
was a council of war on the night of the 6th (5th), at which Sloat showed 
himself still irresolute until prevailed upon to decide on action by Mervine, 
who used very strong language, telling him ' it is more than your commis- 
sion is worth to hesitate in this matter. ' 



Accordingly Larkiii was summoned on board tl 
flag-ship. The day was spent in preparing corre- 
spondence, orders, and proclamations; and before 
night of July 6th, the launch was started back for 
San Francisco with copies of papers to be published 
on the morrow, and a despatch for Montgomery, in 
which Sloat writes: ''I have determined to hoist the 
flag of the United States at this place to-morrow, as 
I would prefer being sacrificed for doing too much 
than too little. If you consider you have sufiicient 
force, or if Fremont will join you, you will hoist the 
flag at Yerba Buena, or at any other proper place, 
and take possession of the fort and that portion of 
the country "^^ 

Every preparation having been completed the night 
before, at 7 in the morning of Tuesday, July 7th, 
Sloat sent Mervine ashore with two or three officers, 
bearing a formal demand for the surrender of the post 
of Monterey, with all troops, arms, and other public 
property. The summons was addressed to -the mili- 
tary commandant, and was delivered to the old artil- 
lery captain, Mariano Silva. His reply, written at 8 
A. M., was that as he had no authority to surrender 
the post, and as there were no troops, arms, or other 
public property, the commodore might settle the mat- 
ter with General Castro, to whom the summons had 
been sent. On receipt of this reply at half-past nine, 
Sloat issued to the crews of all the ships a general order 
forbidding in the usual terms all plunder and other 
excesses on shore, and beginning with these words: 
*' We are about to land on the territory of Mexico, 

"July 6, 1846, S. to M. U. S. Govt Doc, 29th cong. 2d sess., H. Ex. Doc. 
no. 4, p. 648-9. A writer signing himself 'Vindex,'and claiming to have 
been at Monterey in 1846, in a semi-official position, writes to the .4 ^^a of 
Sept. 11, 1870, to state positively, but erroneously, that Larkin with other 

Eoainent Americans called repeatedly on Sloat to beseech him to raise the 
. Mrs Ord, Ocu7-rencias, MS., 142, narrates that the people of Monterey 
an idea that the place was to be taken on July 4th; and one man was 
injured by the crowd rushing out of evening prayers on a false alarm that 
the Americans were landing. 


with whom the United States are at war. To strike 
her flag, and to hoist our own in the place of it, is our 
duty. It is not onl}^ our duty to take Cahfornia, but 
to preserve it afterward as a part of the United 
States at all hazards. To accomplish this, it is of the 
first importance to cultivate the good opinion of the 
inhabitants, whom we must reconcile." 

At 10 o'clock 250 men, marines and seamen, were 
landed from the squadron, under Captain Mervine, 
with Commander Page as second. This force marched 
directly to the custom-house, where Sloat's proclama- 
tion was read, the flag of the United States was 
raised — there had been no Mexican flag flying for two 
months — three cheers were given by troops and spec- 
tators; and at the same time a salute of 21 guns was 
fired from each of the three men-of-war. The proc- 
lamation in English and Spanish was posted in public 
places; two justices of the peace, Purser Price and 
Surgeon Gilchrist, were appointed to preserve order 
in the place of the alcaldes, who declined to serve; a 
summons to surrender, with an invitation to present 
himself for a personal interview, was sent to Castro 
at Santa Clara; duplicate orders w^ere sent to Mont- 
gomery at San Francisco; and letters of information 
were forwarded by Larkin to Fremont, Ide, and oth- 
ers in diflerent directions. Thus Monterey became 
permanently an American town. 

Next day more correspondence was sent out, in- 
cluding communications from Larkin to Castro, Al- 
varado, and Stearns; police regulations were per- 
fected; permanent quarters for a large part of the 
garrison were fitted up at the custom-house, where 
Commandant Mervine also had his headquarters, 
while Page lived at the old government house; and a 
band of music paraded the town for the entertain- 
ment of the new and old American citizens. On the 
9th arrived communications from Castro, at San Juan, 
in one of which he manifested his purpose to spare no 
sacrifice for the defence of his country, though he pro- 


posed to consult the governor and assembly respecting 
the means and methods of defence; and in the other 
he complained bitterly of Fremont and his ' gang of 
adventurers,' demanding an explanation of the rela- 
tions between the insurgents and the forces com- 
manded by Sloat. This may have indicated a dispo- 
sition to treat if Sloat would disown in the name of 
his government all Fremont's acts; but it was more 
likely intended as an excuse, and it was really a suffi- 
cient one, for not considering himself bound by past 
pledges to Larkin. The commodore also wrote to 
Pico: " I beg your Excellency to feel assured that al- 
though I come in arms with a powerful force, I come 
as the best friend of California; and I invite your Ex- 
cellency to meet me at Monterey, that I may satisfy 
you and the people of that fact." 

On the 10th, Narvaez, Silva, and several other offi- 
cers left Castro and returned to their families; and it 
was reported that many of the general's men had de- 
serted him, while others were about to do so. By the 
r2tli there were 300 men on shore; two 18-pound 
carronades were mounted as field-pieces; a stockade 
and blockhouse were in process of erection; and a 
cavalry force of from 35 to 50 men had been partially 
organized. Orders for this company of patrolmen had 
been issued as early as the 8th, Purser Daingerfield 
Fauntleroy and Passed Midshipman Louis McLane 
being put in command as captain and lieutenant respect- 
ively. It was on the 14th that Sloat announced the 
receipt of intelligence that the flag was flying at Yerba 
Buena, Sutter's Fort, Sauzalito, and Bodega; Commo- 
dore Stockton arrived with the Congress on the 15th; 
next day came Admiral Seymour in the CoUingivood; 
on the 17th, Fauntleroy with his company was de- 
spatched to San Juan; and finally, on the 19th, Fre- 
mont and his battalion appeared at Monterey. 

Thus without opposition, without nmch excite- 
ment,^^ without noteworthy incidents, Monterey had 

^'^ The French consul, Gasquet, seems to have objected to the posting of 


fallen a second time into the hands of the United 
States, and was garrisoned by a naval force. I ap- 
pend some bibliographical matter bearing on the topic, 
including an abstract of the documentary record. ^^ 

& sentinel near his house. Larhiti's Off. Corresp., MS., i. 138; and on this 
circumstance, as I suppose, Vallejo and Alvarado build up a serious quarrel, 
in consequence of which Gasquet was arrested and exiled to S. Juan. 

^■* Sloat's official report of July 31st, to the sec. of the navy, War with 
Mexico, Repts Operations of the Navy, 2-4, is a condensed narrative of the 
events noted in my text, to which little or nothing has been added by later 
writers. The same report, slightly disguised as a 'letter from an officer,' ap- 
pears in Niles' Beg., Ixxi. 133. The report of the sec. of the navy on Dee. 
5th, IT. S. Govt Doc, 29th cong. 2d sess., H. Ex. Doc. 4, p. 378-9, contains a 
still briefer account. Each successive point is still more clearly brought out 
by the documents of the period cited below. Swan, in Monterey Republican, 
Jan. 6, 1870; S. Josi Pioneer, May 4, 1878, tells a story of a frightened sentrj' 
at the custom-house, who one afternoon gave an alarm of an enemy coming on 
seeing the approach of a party of marines who had landed at a point out 
of sight. There is a notable absence of incidents, real and fictitious, in nar- 
ratives relating to this period. Ezquer, Memorias, MS., 26, was one of the 
displaced justices. He says he was put under arrest, and that the doors of 
his office were broken down. Most Californians and others who were at 
Monterey at the time confine their statements to a brief mention of the oc- 
cupation. It is not necessary to name them. Gutts' Conq. of Gal., 111., etc. , 
having been published in 1847, deserves mention, though it contains nothing 
except what was obtained from Sloat's report and the accompanying docu- 
ments. For an account of the affair as reported in Mexico in August, includ- 
ing a translation of Sloat's procl., with amusingly bitter comments by the ed- 
itor, see Bustamante, Mem. Hist. Mex. , v. 84-90; Id. , jSfuevo Bernal Diaz, ii. 
58, 76-81. Other Mexican versions, showing no notable peculiarity, ia Rivera, 
Hist. Jalapa, iii. 779; Guerra, Apuntes, 354-5; Dice. Univ., viii. 157; Res- 
taur ador, Aug. 18, 1846. 

The official documents are found, as Sloat''s Despatches, in U. S. Govt Doc. , 
29tli cong. 2d sess., H. Ex. Doc. 4, p. 640, etc.; and 31st cong. 1st sess., H. 
Ex. Doc. 1, pt ii. p. 1, etc. Most of them are copied in Lancey's Cruise, 79, 
etc. ; and many have been often reprinted elsewhere. I do not deem it neces- 
sary to make any further reference to the page where each of these well 
known routine documents is to be found; nor to give more than a mere men- 
tion of their purport. Somewhat more attention is given to documents not 
before published, chiefly found among Larkin's papers. 

1. July 7, 1846, Sloat to com. at Monterey, demanding surrender. 2, 
Silva to Sloat in reply, referring him to Gen. Castro. Spanish and transla- 
tion. A correct copy of the original, the printed one being inaccurate, in 
Larkin^s Doc, MS., iv. 199. 3. Sloat's general order to his men before land- 
ing, forbidding plunder and disorder. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 70-1. 4. 
Sloat's proclamation to the inhabitants of Cal. (see my text a little later). 
Autograph original in the hall of the Cal. Pioneers. Original copies as circu- 
lated in English and Spanish, in Vallejo, Doc, MS., xxxiv. 217; Bandlni, 
Doc, MS., 90; Savage, Doc, MS., iii. 15, etc.; with printed copies in many 
works. 5. Sloat to Castro, in same terms as to Silva, demanding surrender; 
and adding: ' I hereby invite you to meet me immediately in Monterey to 
enter into articles of capitulation, that yourself, officers, and soldiers, with the 
inhabitants of Cal. , may receive assurances of joerfect safety to themselves and 
property.' 6. Com. Mervine to citizens, ordering that all stores and shops be 
closed for two days, and strictly forbidding retail of liquors. Mont. Arch., 
MS., viii. 58-9. 7. Sloat to Montgomery: 'Your launch left yesterday. I 
enclose two documents. I hoisted the American flag here to-day at 9 a. m. (?) 


Sloat's proclamation was as follows: **To the in- 
habitants of California: The central government of 
Mexico having commenced hostilities against the 

You will immediately take possession of Y. B. , and hoist the flag within reach 
of your guns; post up the proclamation in both languages; notify Capt. F. 
and others; put the guns and fort in order. I wish very much to see and 
hear from Capt. F., that we may understand each other and cooperate to- 
gether. ' 8. Larkin to Fremont. Desires him to send message overland on a 
subject of which he will soon be informed. 'The commodore wishes you 
at once to cooperate with him under the new state of affairs, and inform him 
immediately, calling on Capt. Montgomery for a launch if you need it, ta 
bring him information of your willingness to do so. By land immediately 
you can send me a courier with a letter in your handwriting, without signa- 
ture, merely saying you will fall into the plan offered. Show this to Mr 
Gillespie.' Larkiri's Off. Corresp., MS., i. 105. 9. Larkin to Montgomery, 
enclosing an open letter for Fremont, to be read, shown to Gillespie — who is 
desired to come down in the launch — and forwarded. Letters in writer's 
hand to be deemed authentic if not signed. Id., 1. 102. 10. Larkin to Ide. 
Com. Sloat 'has this hour (10 a. m.) raised the flag of the U. S.' 'I presume 
you will be inclined to desist from any contemplated movements against the 
natives, and remain passive for the present.' 'I would recommend you to 
communicate immediately with the commodore. ' Id., i. 100. 11. Larkin to 
Weber and Stokes at S. Jos6, enclosing letter for Ide. To be carried or sent 
at once. Dr Marsh also to be notified. 'The news will come unexpected to 
you; but I hope you will be ready to cooperate in calming the minds of those 
around you.' /£Z.,i. 101. 12. Passportor certificate of Manuel Diaz, that the 
bearer has a communication for Ide recommending him to suspend hostilities, 
/c/., i>oc., MS., i v. 200. 13. Sloat to Larkin. Suggests the posting of reliable 
persons on each road a few miles from town. Id., iv. 201. 

14. July 8th, Larkin to Stearns; with an account of what has occurred, also 
latest news from the north. Id., iv. 202. 15. Larkin to Sloat, recommend- 
ing the appointment of a school-master at $1,000 salary. He will contribute 
one tenth. Thinks it will induce the natives to accept office under the U. S. 
Called on Castro's wife, and found her very uneasy. Will soon know all 
Castro's plans. The gen. will probably be at S. Juan to-night. Will come 
on board to-morrow with David Spence and Dr McKee. Manuel Diaz in- 
vited, but prefers to wait a few days. Id., Off. Corresp., MS., i. 100-1. 16. 
Larkin to Castro. The commodore is anxious for an interview. Assures him 
of good treatment. Id., i. 108-9. 17. Larkin to Alvarado. Is still friendly 
to him and Don Jos^, Hopes the latter will enter into a convention witn 
Sloat, as he may honorably do. Id., i. 100. 18. Larkin 's circular to Ameri- 
cans, with a full account of the Bear Flag revolt, including the latest news. 

19. July 9th, Sloat to Frdmont, telling him what had been done, and urging 
him to make haste with at least 100 men. Fremont's Gal. Claims, 7Ji-4. 
Castro to Sloat (in reply to no. 5). Spanish and translation. 20. Same to 
same, asking an explanation about Fremont's operations. (One of these two 
doc. appears in one of the official editions, and the other in the other, each as 
appendix F. ) 21. Sloat to Pico, enclosing copies of summons to Castro; ask- 
ing an interview and assuring him of good treatment, also dated 12th. 22. 
Castro to Larkin. His letter to Sloat contains his 'ultimate determination.' 
Sawyer's Doc, MS., 77 8. 23. Alvarado to Larkin. Thanks for kind atten- 
tions. Cannot disregard his obligations to his general. Refers to the efforts 
of the 'immortal Washington.' Id., 78-9. 

24. July 10th, Larkin to Sloat, informing him of the return of Silva and 
Narvaez, and reported desertion of Castro's men; and suggesting a procla- 
mation of encouragement for such men. Larkiri's Off. Corresp., MS., i. 105. 

25. July 12th, Sloat to Montgomery, with an account of the situation of 


United States of America by invading its territory 
and attacking the troops ... on the north side of the 
Rio Grande, and with a force of 7,000 men under. . . 
Gen. Arista, which army was totally destroyed. . .on 
the 8th and* 9th of May last by a force of 2,300 men 
under. . .Gen. Taylor, and the city of Matamoras 
taken. . .and the two nations being actually at war by 
this transaction, I shall hoist the standard of the 
United States at Monterey immediately, and shall 
carry it throughout California. I declare to the in- 
habitants of California that, although I come in arms 
with a powerful force, I do not come among them as an 
enemy to California; on the contrary, I come as their 
best friend, as henceforward California will be a por- 
tion of the United States, and its peaceful inhabitants 
will enjoy the same rights and privileges as the citi- 

afFairs; also another despatch approving his course at San Francisco. 26. 
Larkin to Fremont. Urges him to come on to Monterey. The commodore 
is anxious for his cooperation. Wishes to organize a body of paid men. 
Fr6mont may promise $15 or $20 per month, and to a great extent choice 
of their own officers. LarJcirCs Off. Corresp., MS. 27. Wm Matthews, 
carrying despatches to San Francisco, was stopped at Tucho rancho by 
'Chanate' Castro and Jos6 Higuera. He was tied to another prisoner and 
carried off on horseback; but escaped while the captors were drinking. 
Mont. Arch., MS., viii. 45-9. 

28. Muster-roll of Fauntleroy's dragoons from July 12th to Sept. 17th. 
49 names. Gal. Pion. Soc, Arch., MS., 239-40. Sloat's communication of 
July 8th to Fauntleroy, authorizing him to organize the company, 35 strong, 
from the squadron and volunteers, to protect peaceable inhabitants and keep 
a watch over the enemy. Id., 231. Also Sloat's proclamation to 'good citi- 
zens of Cal. and others,' inviting them to enroll themselves in the company 
for 3 months at $15 per month. Doc. not dated, but a Spanish translation 
is dated July 13th. 

29. July 13th, five custom-house officers meet and resolve that they 
are bound to support the Mexican cause, exhorting all subordinates to join 
Castro's force. Hartnell declined to do so, though he signed and approved 
the resolution, because of his large family. Guerra was the leading spirit. 
Unb. Doc, MS., 211-13. Pablo de la Guerra, Guerra, Doc, MS., iv. 1300-1, 
claims that he refused to give up the custom-house flags and boats, com- 
manded his employes to join Castro, and himself left town in all haste to 
avoid giving his parole. 

30. July 14th, Sloat's general order announcing the raising of the flag in 
the north, and congratulating all who had participated in the change. Saio- 
yer's Doc, MS., 83. 31. Thomas Cole paid $165 for carrying despatches to 
S. Jos6 and Yerba Buena. Horses and pistols taken from him by Castro's 
men also paid for. Monterey, Consulate Arch., MS., ii. 16-17. 

32. July 16th, Larkin to Montgomery. Reports arrival of the Congress, 
and says all is quiet. About 100 people have asked for passports to pass in 
and out of town, though they are not required. LarTcMs Off. Gorresp., MS., 
i. 107. 


zens of any other portion of that territory, with all 
the rights and privileges they now enjoy, together 
with the privilege of choosing their own magistrates 
and other officers for the administration of justice 
among themselves; and the same protection will be 
extended to them as to any other state in the Union. 
They will also enjoy a permanent government, under 
which life, property, and the constitutional right and 
lawful security to worship the creator in the way 
most congenial to each one's sense of duty, will be 
secured, which unfortunately the central government 
of Mexico cannot afford them, destroyed as her re- 
sources are by internal factions and corrupt officers, 
who create constant revolutions to promote their own 
interests and oppress the people. Under the flag of 
the United States California will be free from all 
such troubles and expense; consequently the country 
will rapidly advance and improve, both in agriculture 
and commerce, as, of course, the revenue laws will be 
the same in California as in all other parts of the 
United States, affording them all manufactures and 
produce of the United States free of any duty, and 
all foreign goods at one quarter of the duty they 
now pay. A great increase in the value of real estate 
and the products of California may also be antici- 
j)ated. Witli the great interest and kind feelings I 
know the government and people of the United States 
possess toward the citizens of California, the coun- 
try cannot but improve more rapidly than any other 
on the continent of America. Such of the inhabi- 
tants of California, whether native or foreigners, as 
may not be disposed to accept the high privileges of 
citizenship and to live peaceably under the govern- 
ment of the United States, will be allowed time to 
dispose of their property and to remove out of the 
country, if they choose, without any restriction; or 
remain in it, observing strict neutrality. With full 
confidence in the honor and integrity of the inhabi- 
tants of the country, I invite the judges, alcaldes, 


and other civil officers to retain their offices, and to 
execute their functions as heretofore, that the pubHc 
tranquilhty may not be disturbed; at least, until the 
government of the territory can be more definitely 
arranged. All persons holding titles to real estate, 
or in quiet possession of lands under a color of right, 
shall have those titles and rights guaranteed to them. 
All churches and the property they contain, in pos- 
session of the clergy of California, shall continue in 
the same rights and possessions they now enjoy. All 
provisions and supplies of every kind furnished by 
the inhabitants for the use of the United States ships 
and soldiers will be paid for at fair rates; and no pri- 
vate property will be taken for public use without 
just compensation at the moment. John D. Sloat, 
commander-in-chief of the United States naval force 
in the Pacific Ocean." 

This proclamation was by no means a model in re- 
spect of literary style, though superior to many of the 
commodore's productions. The preliminary statement 
that American soil had been invaded by Mexico 
might be criticised, even from a standpoint not purely 
Mexican ; though Sloat was not responsible for it, and 
such criticism does not belong here. The position as- 
sumed that California was to be permanently a terri- 
tory of the United States was certainly a novel and 
very peculiar one, considering the fact that the United 
States ostensibly fought to resist invasion in Texas; 
but it was more or less in accord with the spirit of 
the instructions that Sloat had received, and entirely 
so with those then on their way to him. In other 
respects, however, the document was most wisely 
framed to accomplish its purpose. Moderate and 
friendly in tone, it touched skilfully upon the people's 
past grievances — neglect by Mexico, high prices of 
imported goods, official corruption, and insecurity of 
life and property; and contained no allusions likely to 
arouse patriotic, religious, or race prejudices. No 
proclamation involving a change of nationality could 


have been more favorably received by Californians of 
all classes. Many, not before friends to annexation, 
welcomed the change as a relief from prospective 
Bear Flag rule; though nearly all would have been 
better pleased had the lack of all connection between 
the revolt and the hoisting of the stars and stripes 
been somewhat more apparent. 

The capture of San Francisco by the United States 
naval forces was an event quite as devoid of incident 
or romance as the occupation of Monterey just re- 
lated.^* The Portsmoutlis launch, leaving Monterey 
on July 6th with despatches from Sloat to Montgom- 
ery, had a stormy passage of five days; but other 
despatches, already noticed as sent on the 7th, reached 
their destination sooner. One copy sent by Henry 
Pitts by way of San Josd was delivered at 7 p. m. of 
the 8th ;^'^ while the duplicate, which Job Dye took 
by a coast route, arrived at 1 p. M. of the next day. 
Before dawn on Thursday the 9th, Montgomery de- 
spatched Lieutenant Bevere in the ship's boat with a 
flag to be raised at Sonoma; and at 8 a. m., having 
landed with 70 men at Yerba Buena, he hoisted the 
stars and strips ^'m front of the custom-house, in the 
public square, with a salute of 21 guns from the ship, 
followed by three hearty cheers on shore and on 
board, in which the people, principally foreign resi- 
dents, seemed cordially to join. I then addressed a 
few words to the assembled people," writes the cap- 

** Perhaps I should here credit one man with a laudahle ambition to make 
the prehminaries at least luterestLng. A soldier's yam — whether invented 
by the soldier or by the writer who claimed to take it from his lips I know 
not — published in the N. Y. Commercial Advertiser, June 14, 1867, and re- 
printed in half a dozen California papers, informs us that the hero was at Te- 
pic when news came that papers had been signed giving Cal. to the U. S., 
but that England was also after it. He was therefore sent off on horseback 
with despatches for Capt. Montgomery at S. F., whom he reached, after 
a series of thrilling adventures, just in time to have the flag raised and the 
country saved ! 

'^ liancey. Cruise, 82, says that Pitts was stopped on the way by the Cali- 
fornians; but this occurred I think on his return. Lancey's statement is 
founded on that of Milton Little. Monterey Herald, July 13, 1874; Sta Cruz 
Sndinel, July 25, 1874. 


tain to his superior officer/^ ''after which your excel- 
lent proclamation was read in both languages and 
posted upon the flag-staiF."^'^ Not only was there no op- 
position, but there was not in town a single Mexican 
official from whom to demand a surrender. Sub-pre- 
fect Guerrero and Comandante Sanchez had absented 
themselves; Port-captain Ridley was a prisoner at 
Sutter s Fort; and Keceptor Pinto had more than a 
week before gone to join Castro, first disposing of the 
custom-house flag, which in 1870 he presented to the 
California Pioneers, and the archives of his office, 
which now, thanks to Don Pafael, form an interest- 
ing part of my own collection.^^ 

After the ceremony a part of the force landed, in- 
cluding all the marines; and the rest, taking up their 
quarters at the custom-house, remained as a perma- 
nent garrison, under the command of Lieutenant H. 
B. Watson. In a meeting held at Vice-consul Liedes- 
doriF's house, steps were taken, in accordance with a 
proclamation of Montgomery, to organize a company 
of 'volunteer guards,' to protect the town and per- 
form duties similar to those assumed by Fauntleroy 
^t Monterey. Purser Watmough was sent with a 

^* Montgomery's report to Sloat of occupation of S. F., July 9, 1846. U. S. 
■Govt Doc, 29th cong. 2d sess., H. Ex. Doc. 4, p. 649-50. The story also told 
briefly in Sloat's report. Id., 641. Bryant, Tiithill, and otherj liave given the 
date of the occupation incorrectly as July 8th. 

^^The old custom-house, or receptoria, stood on what is now Brenham 
place, on the west side of the plaza, or Portsmouth Square, near Washington 

^" Pinto informs me — and the same version appears in the Sta Cruz Senti- 
nel, Aug. 13, 1870, the presentation of the flag being recorded in the S. F. 
Bulletin, July 6, 1870; Suisun Republican, Aug. 4, 1870, and other papers — 
that on his departure he committed the trunk containing the flag and docu- 
ments to the care of LeidesdorfFas private property^ Rather strangely, Mont- 
gomery and Leidesdorflf failed to examine the contents, which were subse- 
quently restored to the owner. The papers were presented to me in 1878 by 
Don Rafael, whose Apuntaciones I have often cited as a valuable contribution 
to Californian history, and now — 650 in number, very important as records 
of the country's commerce, and including many of great interest on other 
matters — they are preserved in my Library in two large folio volumes, with 
the following title : Documentos para la Ilistoria de Calif orma. Coleccion del 
Sr Don Rafael Pinto, Oficial que fu6 del ej6rcito Mejicano en California, y Re- 
ceptor de la Aduana de San Francisco en las ultimos meses de la dominacion 
Mejicana. Regalada por el conducto de Tomds Savage d la 'Bancroft Library, ' 


letter to intercept Fremont, erroneously supposed to 
be at Santa Clara in pursuit of Castro. Lieutenant 
Misroon with a small party made a tour to the pre- 
sidio and fort, finding the cannon at the latter place 
just as Fremont had left them on July 1st, spiked, 
and requiring much labor to render them of any ser- 
vice. No other public property was found; and no 
luunan beings were seen except a few Indians. The 
U. S. flag was displayed over the fort. Two days 
later Misroon visited the mission and secured a col- 
lection of public documents. The residents had at 
first fled on hearing of wdiat had happened at Yerba 
Buena; but now they were returning to their homes 
and becoming reconciled to the change. It was also 
on the 11th that Kevere returned from Sonoma,, 
bringing news that all was well in the north. Co- 
mandante Sanchez came in on Montgomery's invita- 
tion, and pointed out the spots where two guns were 
buried, the sub-prefect coming in later and giving up 
the papers of his office; and the Juno anchored in 
the bay, causing some warlike preparations on the 
Portsmouth, but showing no disposition to interfere 
in any way. During this period, and until the end 
of the month, there were no incidents worthy of no- 
tice. ^^ There were no arrests, except of half a dozen 
of Montgomery's own men for disorderly conduct. 
Some cannon were transferred from Sonoma and 
mounted on the side of what is now Telegraph Hill, 
to protect the town. Correspondence of the time 
made know^n at Yerba Buena much of what was oc- 
curring at Monterey and at other places. It was 
understood that couriers were sometimes stopped by 

^»Wm H. Davis, Glimpsfs of the Past, MS., 267-8, 340-7, arrived at Yerba 
Buena during this period, and chats pleasantly, as is his wont, of what occurred. 
He and W. D. M. Howard were arrested late one night while crossing the 
l)laza, having forgotten the countersign, and were taken to the guard-house; 
but Lieut Watson administered no more severe penalty than to force them 
to drink a bottle of champagne with him before going home. Davis says 
the guns were got out and all made ready for a fight on board the Portsmouth 
several times on the arrival of a vessel, once while he was taking breakfast 
with Montgomery, there being great fear of trouble with England. Phelps, 
Fore and Aft, 291^-4, also has something to say of the events of these days. 


Californians on the way to San Josd; but otherwise 
no rumor came to indicate that all north of Monterey 
was not as completely and quietly American as was 
the little village on San Francisco Bay. Not much 
is known of the events narrated, bevond what is con- 
tained in the documentary record which I append 


^'^ The documents relating to the occupation of San Francisco are found 
annexed to Sloat's report in 29th Cong. 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 4, p. 648-68, 
and in 31st Cong. 1st Sess. , H. Ex. Doc. no. 1, pt ii. p. 10-30. They are as 
follows: 1. July 6th, Sloat to Montgomery, sent by the launch, and already 
noted. 2. July 7th, same to same, 'telegraphic,' already noted. 3. July 
9th, Montgomery to Sloat, in reply to no. 2, narrating events of the occu- 
pation as in my text, and enclosing documents of the day. Advises the bring- 
ing of two 18 -pounders from Sonoma. Has supplied Fremont with stores to 
the amount of $2,199. 4. Montgomery to his 'fellow-citizens,' an address 
after raising the flag. Thinks the new standard will ' this day be substituted 
for the revolutionary flag recently hoisted at Sonoma.' Commends Sloat's 
proclamation. Invites citizens willing to join a local militia to call at Leides- 
dorff's house immediately. 5. Montgomery's proclamation, calling upon all 
to enroll themselves into a military company, choosing their own officers. In 
case of an attack, all necessary force will be landed from the Portsmonth. An- 
nounces Watson's appointment as military commandant pro tem. 6. Mont- 
gomery to Fremont, announcing what has been done, and requesting his pres- 
ence at Monterey. 7. Montgomery to Purser James H. Watmough. He is 
to intercept Fremont at Sta Clara or S. Jos6, and deliver no. 6 to him. 8. 
Montgomery to H. B. Watson, making him commander of marines and local 
militia. Encloses list of militia force. Arranges signals for aid in case of at- 
tack. 9. Lieut J. S. Misroon to Montgomery. Report of a visit to the pre- 
sidio and fort with Watmough, Leidesdorff, and several volunteers. At the 
fort he found 3 brass cannon and 7 of iron. Recommends some repairs at the 
fort. Xo cannon at the presidio. 10. July 11th, Misroon to Montgomery. 
Report of a visit to the Mission with Leidesdorff and a party of marines. 
11. Lieut Revere, having returned, reports the success of his mission to So- 
noma. 12. Lieut Watson's report of the day. All quiet. Patrol vigilant 
and obedient. 13. Lieut Misroon for Montgomery (who is confined to his 
bed) to Sloat. Sends additional documents and details. Reports raising of 
the flag in the north. Arrival of the Juno. Hopes to recover two cannon 
buried at the presidio and mission. Comandante Sanchez had come in on in- 
vitation ; had no public property to deliver, but knew where some guns were 
buried. A stand of colors and a boat taken from the custom-house. This 
was sent to Monterey by Pitts. Received next day. 14. July 13th, Mont- 
gomery to Fallon, about affairs at S. Jos6. 15. July 15th, Montgomery to 
Sloat. Has received Sloat's of 12th, sent from S. Jos6by Stokes. Is 'wholly 
at a loss as to the whereabouts of Capt. Fremont, ' but thinks he may be at 
Monterey. Notes arrival of the VandaUa from S. Diego. Suggests transfer 
of arms from Sonoma. Sends correspondence with Fallon. 16. July 17th, 
Montgomery to Sloat, in answer to telegraphic despatch of 12th, which was 
delayed 36 hours at S. Jos6. Is fortifying the anchorage. The entrance to 
the bay can be so fortified as to repel the whole navy of Great Britain. 17. 
Same to same, on the prisoners at Sutter's Fort. 18. July 18th, Montgomery 
to Grigsby, on Sonoma affairs. 19. July 20th, Montgomery to Sloat, for- 
warding correspondence with Grigsby. Suggests a guard on the road to S. 
Jos6 infested by mischievous men. Has 6 men under arrest for disorderly 
conduct. Good progress on the new fort. The late sub-prefect Francisco 
Guerrero caine in from his rancho on summons, and gave up the papers of his 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 16 


At Sonoma, where nothing that we know of had 
occurred since Fremont's departure three days before, 
Revere arrived before noon of July 9th, having left 
San Francisco in the Portsmoutlis boat at two o'clock 
in the morning. Of what followed there is no other 
record than that of Revere himself, as follows: "Hav- 
ing caused the troops of the garrison and the inhabi- 
tants of the place to be summoned to the public square, 
I then read the proclamation of Commodore Sloat to 
them, and then hoisted the United States flag upon 
the staff in front of the barracks, under a salute from 
the artillery of the garrison. I also caused the proc- 
lamation to be translated into Spanish and posted up 
in the plaza. A notice to the people of California was 
also sent the next day, to be forwarded to the country 
around, requesting the people to assemble at Sonoma 
on Saturday next, the 11th, to hear the news con- 
firmed of the country having been taken possession of 
by the United States. An express, with a copy of 
the proclamation and a United States flag, was also 
sent to the commander of the garrison at Sutter's Fort 
on the Sacramento, with a request to do the same 
there that had been done at Sonoma. The same was 
also done to the principal American citizen — Mr 
Stephen Smith — at Bodega, with a demand for two 
pieces of field artillery ... I am happy to report that 
great satisfaction appeared to prevail in the commu- 
nity of Sonoma, of all classes, and among both foreign- 
ers and natives, at the country having been taken pos- 
session of by the United States and their flag hoisted ; 
more particularly after the general feeling of insecu- 
rity of life and property caused by the recent events 
of the revolution in this part of Cahfornia."^^ It 
will be remembered that Grigsby and about fifty men 
had been left as a garrison, the main force of the in- 

department. He was allowed to depart on parole. Juno sailed. No visits 
during her stay except by boarding officers. 

"July 11, 1846, Revere to Montgomery. 29th Cong. 2d Sesa., H. Ex. Doc. 
4, p. 657. In his Tour of Duty, Revere says nothing of this visit, though he 
speaks of liis return to Sonoma ^s commandant a little later. 


surgents having gone to the Sacramento. This fact, 
perhaps, accounts in part for the commonplace, mat- 
ter-of-course way in which the Bear flag gave place 
to the stars and stripes. But while under the former 
regime, with Ide in command, such an event might 
have been attended with more diplomacy, speech- 
making, and general excitement, there is no reason to 
believe that there would have been the slightest oppo- 
sition by the revolutionists. Doubtless some of the 
leading spirits would have preferred that the change 
should come a little later, accompanied by negotiations 
which might give themselves personally more prom- 
inence; and many adventurers saw with regret their 
chances for plunder in the near future cut off; but 
there were very slight, if any, manifestations of dis- 
pleasure, and no thoughts of resistance. The natives 
were naturally delighted at the change ; and as is usual 
in such cases, they were disposed to exaggerate the 
chagrin experienced by the hated Osos.^ 


About the raising of the flag on the Sacramento, 
we know still less than of the like event at Sonoma, 
having no oflicial contemporary record whatever. The 
courier despatched by Bevere from Sonoma on the 9th 

^^Vallejo, Hist. Cal., MS., v. 158-61, tells us that the Bears murmured, 
and even threatened to raise the old flag as soon as Fremont should return. 
He quotes a letter from his wife, in which she says: ' For two nights the ser- 
vants have not slept in my room; the danger is past, for a captain from Sau- 
zalito, sent by Capt. Montgomery, who in a letter recommended him highly 
to me, put the American flag on the staff where before was the Bear; and 
since then there are no robberies that I know of, although sister Rosa (Mrs 
Leese) says it is all just the same. In those days were great fiestas, all of us 
shouting with pleasure and waving our handkerchiefs; but the Osos were very 
sad. I heard the wife of Capt. Sears say that her husband said, " The Amer- 
ican flag had come too soon, and all his work was lost." I and sister Rosa 
are not afraid any more for your life and that of Salvador and Don Luis' 
<Leese). On July 16th Capt. Grigsby wrote to Capt. Montgomery: 'Tlie 
Spaniards appear well satisfied with the change. The most of them, 38, 
have come forward and signed articles of peace. Should they take up arms, 
etc. , they forfeit their lives and property. All things are going on very well 
here at present. We have about 50 men capable of bearing arms. There 
are some foreigners on this side that have never taken any part with us. I 
wish to know the proper plan to pursue with them, whether their property 
shall be used for the garrison or not. There are some poor men liere that 
are getting very short of clothing. I wish to know in what way it might be 
procured for them.' 31st Cong. 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, pt ii. p. 28. 


was William Scott. ^ He carried a Hag and a copy 
of Sloat's proclamation, with orders, or a request, to 
the commandant at Sutter's Fort to hoist the former 
and publish the latter. The courier arrived just be- 
fore night on the 10th; and Lieutenant Kern sent 
him on to the American Kiver to the camp of Fre- 
mont, whom Montgomery and Kevere had supposed 
to be far away in the south. Fremont writes: "We 
were electrified by the arrival of an express from 
Captain Montgomery, with information that Commo- 
dore Sloat had hoisted the flag of the United States. 
. . . Independence and the flag of the United States 
are synonymous terms to the foreigners here, the 
northern which is the stronger part particularly, and 
accordingly I directed the flag to be hoisted with a 
salute the next morning. The event produced great 
rejoicing among our people;"^* and, as he might have 
added, among the imprisoned Californians in the fort, 
who were foolish enough to believe that the change of 
flag would effect their immediate deliverance, as it 
certainly should have done. It does not clearly ap- 
pear whether Fremont went down in person to raise 
the flag at the fort on the morning of July 11th, or 
simply directed Kern to attend to that duty. Sutter, 
who never admits that he was not in command all this 
time, says of the flag: "Lieutenant Revere sent me 
one. It was brought by a courier, who arrived in the 
night. At sunrise next morning, I hoisted it over my 
fort and began firing guns. The firing continued un- 
til nearly all the glass in the fort was broken."^ 

''■^Monterey Cali/omian, March 20, 1847; Lancey^ 8 Cruise, 102; and many 
newspaper accounts. 

" Fremont's letter of July 25th, in Niks' Reg., Ixxi. 191. Gillespie, Fr^- 
months Cat. Claims, 29, says, 'About sunset an express arrived from below,' 
impliedly at the fort, 'bearing an American flag to be hoisted at the fort, 
and a proclamation from Sloat, announcing the commencement of hostilities 
with Mexico and the taking of Monterey. The bear flag had been hauled 
down at Sonoma, and the American flag run up in its place immediately 
upon the arrival of the news. The flag brought by the express was hoisted 
at Sutter'.s fort at sunrise upon the 11th July under a salute of 21 guns; 
and the settlers throiighout the country received the news with rejoicings of 
great joy and gladnt s.s. ' 

^^ SuUe7'\s Peru. Uernin., MS., lol. The N. Jlelvelia Diary, MS., notes 


In the Santa Clara Valley, Weber and Fallon had 
made an effort to raise a force among the settlers, with 
the view of cooperating with the Bear Flag insur- 
gents. This region being Castro's headquarters, it 
was necessary to act cautiously; but while an open 
movement against the Californians was impracticable, 
some kind of an organization was effected, and a con- 
siderable force was in readiness to join Ide and Fre- 
mont whenever they should advance from the north. 
Fallon, with nineteen men from the reofion of Santa 
Cruz, was encamped in the hills, awaiting thetime for 
action. Weber's efforts were revealed to the Califor- 
nians, and with two companions he w^as arrested and 
taken to San Juan^^ at or about the same time that 
Castro transferred his force to that place. On July 
7th Pitts arrived from Monterey en route for San 
Francisco, with communications for Weber and Stokes, 
and others for Ide and Fremont.^^ He may also have 
been the bearer of Sloat's despatch to Castro.^® Next 
day the general withdrew his troops and started for 
San Juan. There are indications that Stokes and his 
friends soon hoisted an American flag ; but if so, it was 
lowered and carried away by some foe to the cause. ^^ 
On the 11th, however, Fallon and his party entered 
tlie town from their mountain camp, and the leader 
notified Montgomery that they were at his command, 

the arrival of Fremont on the 10th at the fort and the American River; and 
also the departure of some men for the camp on the 11th; but says noth- 
ing of the flag, and then closes abruptly for several months. 

'^^ See chap, v., this vol. 

^^ July 7th, Larkin to Weber and Stokes, enclosing one for Ide. Larldri's 
Off. Gorresp., MS., i. 101. A communication for Fremont was also doubtless 
sent by this route as well as through Montgomery. Marsh was to be notified. 
Larkin suggested that Stokes or Weber should go to Sonoma if possible, 
otherwise that Cook or Bellamy should be sent. Lancey says that Pitts arrived 
on the 8th, and this may be correct; but as he left Monterey early on the 7th 
and reached S. F. at 7 p. m. on the 8th, it seems most likely, in the absence of 
positive proof to the contrary, that he passed the night at S. Jos6. 

28 John Daubenbiss, who carried tlie despatch for Fremont, says, S. Jose 
Pioneer, Aug. 2.3, 1879, that Castro was parading liis troops in town when he 
started. Lancey, Cruise, 73, says, however, that Daubenbiss carried the news 
that Castro had gone to S. Juan with Weber as prisoner. 

■'''Fallon, in his letter to Montgomery, mentioned later, says: ' The flag that 
was put up here was cut down before we came here, but I hope it shall never 
happen again.' 


and ready to raise the flag. Montgomery replied on 
the 13th with thanks, and instructions to hoist the flag 
if the force should be deemed sufficient to defend it.^^ 
But though the force increased rapidly to the number 
of about forty, no flag could be found at the pueblo. 
Hearing of this want, Sloat forwarded the required 
bunting on the 13th, and on the 16th it was raised 
over the juzgado by Fallon and his patriotic follow- 
ers.^^ On the same day. Alcalde Pacheco having de- 
clined to serve under the new regime, James Stokes 
was appointed by Sloat to hold the office tempora- 
rily.^^ In a few days Fallon and his men went down 
to San Juan to join Fremont. 

We left Fremont and his Bear Flag battalion en- 
camped on the American River near Sutter's Fort. 
At San Francisco and Sonoma it was believed that 
Fremont was in hot pursuit of Castro, and in that 
belief despatches were sent to intercept him at Santa 
Clara, the general's headquarters. But as a matter 
of fact, before the insurgents had completed their 
preparations for the pursuit, if indeed the captain 
really intended to undertake it, news came that Cas- 
tro had retreated southward, in consequence of Sloat's 
occupation of Monterey. This news, together with 
Sloat's proclamation and his request that Fremont 
should join him without delay, seems to have been 
brought up the valley by Robert Livermore, and ar- 
rived on the 11th, the same day that the flag was 

*° July 12th, Fallon to Montgomery, and the latter's reply of the 13th. U. 
S. Govt Doc, 29th cong. 2d sess., H. Ex. Doc. 4, p. 660-1. Fallon says Castro 
started south 'last Wednesday' (8th); and he asks for some arms as a loan, 
which the captain is willing to furnish but has no way to send them. Lan- 
cey, Cruise, 89, cites two other unimportant letters from Montgomery to 
Fallon, dated July 15th, 16th, though the former date must be an error. Win- 
ston Bennett, S. Jo»6 Pioneer, May 26, June 2, 1877, claims to have been 
the one to notify Fallon of Pitts' arrival. He is inaccurate in some of his 

3* Sloat's report of July Slst, and his letter to Montgomery of July 12th. 
See also HcUVs Hist. S. Jos^, 146-7, 150-3; S. Jns6 Pioneer, Sept. 15, 1877; 
Sta Clara Co. Hist. Atlas, 10; S. JosA Patriot, July 23, 1875. 

"July 16th, Sloat to people of 8. Jos^. S. Jos6, Arch., Loose Pap., MS., 
33. They are urged to choose their own local authorities. 


raised over Sutter's Fort.^^ It was probably the next 
clay that Fremont's battalion started down the valley, 
about 160 strong, with one or two field-pieces.^* On 
the Mokelumne River, as we are informed by Bidwell, 
the Sonoma agreement, or enlistment paper, was 
brought out to receive the signatures of all who had 
not yet signed ; and the document is not known to 
have been seen since.^^ Continuing his march rather 
slowly down the Sacramento and up the San Joaquin, 
Fremont crossed the latter river near what is now 
called Hill's Ferry, and crossing the hills, probably by 
the Pacheco Pass, arrived on July l7th at San Juan, 
which place Castro had abandoned a week before. A 
few hours later, Fauntleroy arrived with a squad of 
his dragoons from Monterey, having been sent by 
Sloat to reconnoitre the country, hoist the flag at San 
Juan, and recover some cannon said to be buried there. 
The stars and stripes soon floated over the ex-mission 
pueblo, probably with salute and cheers and reading 
of the proclamation as elsewhere. Thus the last place 
in northern California, or at least the last making any 
pretensions to the rank of 'town,' came, without the 
slightest resistance, under the power of the United 

33 Fremont's letter to Beuton. Niles' Beg., Ixxi. 191. Livermoreis named 
as the courier in the Mortterey Calif ornian, March 20, 1847. John Dauben- 
biss, in S. Jose Pioneer, Aug. 23, 1879, says, accurately I think: 'Dr Stokes 
received the despatch from Pitts, who had brought it from Com. Sloat at 
Monterey, and he asked me to carry it to Capt. Fremont, who was at Sutter's 
Fort. I rode to the San Joaquin River, and being unable to swim my horse 
across the river, I returned to Livermore (rancho), and got Mr Livermore to 
carry the proclamation to Frdmont, which he did with the aid of his Indians. 
I remained at lAvermore's until Lieut Gillespie arrived from Fremont's camp, 
and then piloted him to S. Jos6, where we found that Capt. Tom Fallon had 
hoisted the American flag. We arrived at S. Jos6 at midnight, and next 
morning I took Lieut Gillespie to Monterey.' In the same paper of Jan. 20, 
1877, Harry Bee tells how he himself carried the despatches to Fremont at 
Sloat's request; and adds many details of Fremont's words and actions, as of 
his own adventures. The story has some foundation in fact. See ii. 714. 

3* Gillespie, in the S. F. Alta, July 3, 1866, mentions 2 guns, the * Sutter,' 
that had been mounted on the fort, and the 'Fremont, 'a 16-pounder iron gun 
mounted upon the running-gear of a Pennsylvania wagon, bought from Sutter 
for $600. The 'Sutter' was a brass piece of Russian origin. It was after the 
war returned to Sutter, and by him presented to the Cal. Pioneers. Fremont 
mentions but one gun on his arrival at Monterey. 

^'^ BidwelVs Cal. in I84I-8, MS., 174; Willey's Thirty Yearn in Cal, 13. 

3® On Fremont's occupation of S. Juan, see Sloat's report, and report of sec- 


The current version is that now or a little later 
Fremont and Fauntleroy found and took possession 
of a considerable quantity of arras and ammunition 
that had been abandoned by Castro at San Juan. 
Some writers specify nine cannon, 200 muskets, 
twenty kegs of powder, and 60,000 pounds of copper 
cannon-balls.^' That Castro left most of his cannon 
buried, or even that some of the guns had not been 
dug up or mounted since the time of Michel tore na, 
may well be credited; but that he left at San Juan 
any serviceable muskets or powder, in the absence of 
more positive proof, I must decline to believe. Fal- 
lon with his men soon came in from San Jose to join 
tlie battalion; and leaving a small garrison behind,^^ 
to relieve which Fauntleroy was soon sent back with 
some forty men, the dragoons and the battalion of 
Bears marched on Sunday, July 19th, to Monterey, 
where Gillespie had arrived two days earlier. Fre- 
mont's men, whose appearance is described in print 
by Walpole and Colton, seem to have created a de- 
cided sensation in the town.^^ 

letary of war, for a brief statement, Martin, Narrative, MS., 31-2, describes 
the inarch slightly. All the authorities mention Fauntleroy's expedition. 
German, Sucesos, MS., 25-6, mentions the curious circumstance that while 
Fremont and Fauntleroy were at S. Juan a mad coyote came in and bit many 
persons. No one died; but all the dogs in town were immediately shot. 

^'Monterey Calif ornian, March 20, 1847; TuthUVs Hist. Cal, 181-2. 
Vallejo, Hist. Col., MS., 170-1, and Alvarado, Hist. Gal, MS., v. 232-3, 
267, state that all the arms and ammunition had been removed before Fre- 
mont's arrival. 

'^Lancey, Cruise, 103, names Daubenbiss and James W. Marshall, and 
says there were 7 or 8 others. 

^''During our stay Capt. Fremont and his party arrived, preceded by 
another troop of American horse. It was a party of seamen mounted. 
Their efficiency as sailors, they being nearly all English, we will not ques- 
tion. As cavalry, they would probably have been singularly destructive to 
each other. Their leader, however, was a fine fellow, and one of the best 
rifle-shots in the States (Fauntleroy?). Fremont's party naturally excited 
curiosity. Here were true trappers. These men had passed years in the 
wilds, living on their own resources. They were a curious set. A vast 
cloud of dust appeared first, and thence in long file emerged this wildest wild 
party. Fremont rode ahead, a spare, active-looking man, with such an eye! 
Jle was dressed in a blouse and leggings, and woi'c a felt hat. After him 
came five Delaware Indians, who were liis body-guard; they had charge of 
two baggage-horses. The rest, many of them blacker than the Indians, rode 
two and two, the rifle held by one hand across the pommel of the saddle. 
39 of them are his regular men, the rest are loafers picked up lately. His 
original men are principally backwoodsmen from Tennessee ... The dress of 


Naturally an early interview took place between 
Sloat and Fremont; and for obvious reasons it was 
not satisfactory to either. The commodore, whose 
iiesitation at Mazatlan and Monterey has already been 
noted, if he had not exactly been induced to act by the 
news of Fremont's operations, had at least been greatly 
comforted thereby. His natural timidity increased 
by ill health, he had again begun to fear that, like 
Jones in earlier years, he had acted prematurely; and 
he had looked forward with anxiety to the opportunity 
of learning from the captain's own lips the nature of 
the instructions or information under which he had 
begun hostilities. His anxiety in this respect is clearly 
reflected in the letters of himself and Larkin already 
cited ; and it had been greatly augmented by Larkin's 
opinion that Frdmont and Gillespie had acted on their 
own responsibility. Therefore, when he learned in 
response to his questions that those officers had pro- 

these men was principally a long loose coat of deer-skin, tied with thongs 
in front; trousers of the same, of their manufacture, which, when wet 
through they take off, scrape well inside with a knife, and put on as soon as 
dry. The saddles were of various fashions, though these and a large drove 
of horses, and a brass field-gun, were things they had picked up in Califor- 
nia. The rest of the gang were a rough set; and perhaps their private, pub- 
lic, and moral characters had better not be too closely examined. They are 
allowed no liquor, . . . and the discipline is very strict. They were marched 
up to an open space on the hills near the town, under some large firs, and 
there took up their quarters in messes of six or seven, in the open air. The 
Indians lay beside their leader. One man, a doctor [Semple], six feet six 
high, was an odd-looking fellow. May I never come under his hands! The 
party, after settling themselves, strolled into the town, and in less than two 
days, passed in drunkenness and debauchery, three or four were missing. 
They were accordingly marched away . . . One of the gang was very uncivil 
to us, and threw on us the withering imputation of being Britishers ... On 
inquiry, he was found to be a deserter from the marines. In fact, the most 
violently Yankee were discovered to be English fellows, of high principles, of 
course.' WalpoWs Four Years in the Pacific, ii. 215-16. Colton, Deck and 
Port, 390-1, says: 'Monday, July 20th, Capt. Fremont and his armed band, 
with Lieut Gillespie of the marine corps, arrived last night from their pur- 
suit of Gen. Castro ( !). They are 200 strong, all well mounted, and have 
some 300 extra horses in their train. They defiled, two abreast, through the 
principal street of the town. The ground seemed to tremble under their 
heavy tramp. The citizens glanced at them through their grated windows. 
Their rifles, revolving pistols, and long knives glittered over the dusky 
buckskin which enveloped their sinewy limbs, while their untrimmed locks, 
flowing out from under their foraging caps, and their black beards, with 
white teeth glittering through, gave them a wild, savage aspect. They en- 
camped in the skirts of the woods which overhang the town.' July 22d, 
Fremont and his men visited tlie C'o/ii/n\-i<. 


ceeded without authority from Washington, if not in 
direct disobedience to instructions, and that they knew 
nothing whatever about the breaking-out of war, he 
was grievously disappointed. Instead of comforting 
assurance, he received matter for increased uneasiness. 
But he seems greatly to have exaggerated his disap- 
pointment and anger, going so far as to state that he 
had based his own acts entirely on those of Fremont, 
which, as we know, was by no means true. He did this 
with a view to save his responsibility in possible future 
contingencies; the only practical effect was to give 
Fremont material on which plausibly to found a claim 
to more credit than he deserved for the conquest of 

The interview was not satisfactory to Fremont, on 
the other hand, because Sloat declined to adopt his 
plans for a prosecution of the conquest, or even to 
accept the services of the Bear Flag battalion as a 
part of the United States forces. The filibuster cap- 
tain felt that, could he get his men once regularly 
mustered into the service, he was likely to escape 
from all possibly embarrassing results of his past ir- 
regular conduct. He wished, moreover, to have his 
own wrongs and those of the settlers embodied in 
the avowed motives of the war, thus identifying the 
revolt and the conquest; and he counted on making 
in person a brilliant campaign against Castro. But 
Sloat was not disposed to show the slightest favor to 
his schemes, and even declined to do what he had in- 
tended, and partially promised directly and through 

*° Testimony of Fremont and Gillespie in 1848. FHmonVs Cal. Claims, 13, 
32. It seems that Gillespie, in his first interview with Sloat before Fremont's 
arrival, had declined to state on what authority they had acted. Many writers, 
whom I need not specify, have repeated the purport of this testimony. Bald- 
ridce, Days of ^G, MS., 29-30, met Fremont as he left the ship, and saw- 
by his manner that there was some trouble. A little later he met Sloat's 
son, who described the interview much as it was described by the officers in 
their testimony, adding that the commodore was very violent in his denunci- 
ations of Fremont's conduct. Tuthill, Hint. Cal., 182-4, suggests that Sloat 
was also jealous that Gillespie, a naval officer, had been sent past him at Maza- 
tlan to Fremont, a lieutenant of topographical engineers. Benton, Thirty 
Years, ii. 692, states that Fremont's confession left Sloat without orders for 
taking Monterey, since the commencement of war was not known! 


Larkin by letter, that is, to utilize the battalion for 
service similar to that being performed by Fauntle- 
roy's dragoons. He had raised the flag as ordered by 
his superiors, on hearing of national hostilities; and 
he sensibly refused to meddle in the quarrels of Fre- 
mont and Castro, or in the fictitious wrongs of the 
settlers. There was nothing in the letter of his orders, 
even of those en route which he had not received, that 
required him to go beyond the occupation of the ports ; 
and now, until by receipt of additional instructions, or 
at least by news that war had been formally declared, 
it should be proved that he had made no mistake, the 
commodore proposed to content himself with what he 
had done in literal obedience to his superiors. Doubt- 
less Larkin sustained Sloat in his determination.*^ 

The misunderstanding between Sloat and Fremont 
was not destined, however, to have any serious effect 
on subsequent events — such was the result of Commo- 
dore Stockton's intervention. Stockton had arrived 
in the Congress^ Captain Dupont, from Honolulu on 
July 15th, and reported for duty to Sloat. He had 
sailed in October from Norfolk, and the route was 
round Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Callao, and the Sand- 
wich Islands.*^ The contents of his 'sealed orders' 
have never been made public, and indeed, I find no 
trace of instructions to him of earlier date than No- 
vember 1846. Doubtless he w^as fully informed re- 
specting the probability of war, and the policy of his 

*^ July 17th, Larkin writes to Stockton that Gillespie, who is about to call 
on him, seems to have imbibed ' local views * of affairs. Hopes Stockton will 
cause him to abandon those views, since the writer believes ' we should con- 
tinue what has been begun without having our minds and views prescribed 
by the Pacific Ocean and Rocky Mountains; the world at large and posterity 
will look only for national and extended views for the good of our country in 
common.' Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., i. 143. July 24th, Larkin to Fremont, 
saying that as Sloat has decided not to keep up any interior force, all in- 
structions, etc., in former letters are to be deemed countermanded to this date. 
Id., i. 144. 

^'^ColtoTi's Deck and Port, or incidents of a cruise in the U. S. frigate CoU' 
gress to California, N. Y., 1850, 12mo, 408 p., is a journal of the voyage by 
Rev. Walter Colton, chaplain of the vessel. It is an interesting and deserved- 
ly popular work. Its continuation under another title more nearly concerns 


government in the case of war or peace, being directed 
to join the Pacific squadron and await developments. 
It is noticeable that Stockton's original orders were 
dated October 17, 1845, the date of the instructions 
to Larkin and Gillespie, a fact suggestive of their 
probable contents.^^ Fremont and Gillespie had an 
interview with Stockton, as well as with Sloat, and 
found him to be a man after their own heart. He had 
none of Sloat's timidit}- about assuming responsibility. 
He believed that Sloat's orders and information from 
the Rio Grande abundantly justified, not only what he 
had done, but would justify much more. He was in 
favor of accepting the services of the battalion, and of 
prosecuting the conquest to a successful issue by a 
land campaign. Not only this, but he was willing to 
virtually adopt the Bear Flag revolt in all its phases 
as part of the conquest, thus imbibing the 'local views' 
against which Larkin had warned him.'^ 

But what pleased Fremont and Gillespie most of 
all was Stockton's assurance that he would soon be 
in a position to carry his and their plans into execu- 
tion. For at their first interview, on July 15th, Sloat 
had announced his intention to retire at an early date, 
leaving the other commodore in command of the squad- 

** Stockton's letter of Oct. 24, 1845, acknowledging receipt of orders of the 
17th, and mentioning the sealed orders, etc. p. 95 of A Sketch of the Life oj 
Com. Robert F. Stockton; with an appendix, comprising his correspondence with 
the navy department respecting his conquest of California; and extracts from 
the defence of Col. J. C. Fremont in relation to the same subject; together loith his 
speeches in the senate of the U. S., and his political letters. New York, 1856, 
8vo, 210, 131 p. This work is sufficiently described by its title. The tone 
is of course warmly eulogistic of the hero, who deserved something of eulogy. 
So far as Cal. is conceriied, the documentary part of the work is the most val- 
uable, though but few documents are given which are not elsewhere extant; 
and the editor for the most part simply echoes the views of Stockton himself, 
as expressed in his various reports. Colton, Deck and Port, 379, says: ' Mex- 
ican papers were received there [at Honolulu] the day before our departure, 
stating that hostilities had commenced between that country and the U. S. 
on the Texan line. We doubted the correctness of the information, but put 
to sea at once, that we might be off Monterey in season for any service which 
tlie possible exigency might require.' The correspondence of the time shows 
clearly that Stockton was expected with the Congress to join the squadron by 
Sloat, Larkin, and Montgomery long before his arrival even at Honolulu, 

** Stockton's ideas on the subject are clearly expressed in his various re- 
ports, an<l reflected in his acts, ;is wo shall see i)rcsently. 


ron.*^ Sloat perhaps intended at first to await the ar- 
rival of an order for relief from Washington, such an 
order — in reply to his request of May, and *'for other 
reasons" — being then on the way, coupled with a rep- 
rimand, of which he knew nothing; but if so, his dis- 
agreement with Stockton respecting the policy to be 
pursued in California, and the latter's willingness to 
assume the responsibility of cooperating with Fre- 
mont, as well as his own failing health, soon deter- 
mined him to hasten his departure. Accordingly, on 
July 23d, as a preliminary step, he made Stockton com- 
mander-in-chief of all forces and operations on land. 
Having already an understanding wdth Fremont, the 
new commander on the same day perfected an arrange- 
ment by which the 160 'ex-osos' were received as a 
battalion of volunteers, Fremont being made major 
and Gillespie captain, to serve under Stockton as long 
as their services might be required. Other officers re- 
mained presumably as on the departure from Sonoma; 
at least, there is no information extant respecting the 
reorganization of the battalion until a later period and 
for another campaign.^^ 

Captain Dupont was now transferred to the Cyane, 
Captain Mervine to the Savannah, and Lieutenant 
Livingstone took command of the Congress. On 
Sunday, July 26th, or perhaps next day,^'' the Cyane 

*^ Stockton's Beport of Operations on the Coast of the Pacific, Feb. 18, 1848. 
This detailed report and defence, which I shall have frequent occasion to cite, 
is found in 31st Cong. 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. i, pt ii., p. 33-50; and also in 
Stockton's Life, append A, p. 17-30; Bigelow's Mem. Fremont, 164, etc. 

*^ Stockton's Report; Stockton's letter of Aug. 28th to Sec. Bancroft, in 
Cutts' Gonq.y 119. Fremont, in his letter of July 25th to Benton, sent home 
by Sloat, says: 'I received this morning from Com. Stockton a commission of 
major in the U. S. army, retaining command of my battalion, to which a force 
of 80 marines will be attached. We are under orders to embark to-morrow 
morning on the Cyane, and disembark at S. Diego.' Niks' Rcg-i Ixxi. 191. 
Hensley, Fremont's Gal. Claims, 36-7, says the men refused to serve at {|11 
per month, and no rate was specified until August. July 24th, Larkin to 
Stockton, advising him that a force of men accustomed to rifle and saddle 
will be necessary, in addition to sailors and marines. Recommends also that 
he proceed to S. Pedro to act there as the position of Pico and Castro may 
demand. Larkin' s Off. Corresp., MS., i. 110. 

*' The order was to sail on the 26th, and Sloat in his report gives that as 
the date of departure; but Colton in his journal, 7%ree Years in CaL, 16, 
states that it was on Monday, July 27th. The other dates are clearly stated 


sailed for San Diego with the battalion on board. 
On Wednesday the '29tli Sloat transferred his broad 
pennant to the Levant and sailed for home;*^ while 
Stockton assumed command of the squadron; issued 
a proclamation, which, with the acts accompanying its 
enforcement, I shall notice in the next chapter; and 
on Saturday, August 1st, sailed in the Congress for 
San Pedro, having before his departure appointed 
Walter Colton as alcalde in place of Price and Gil- 
christ, and also sent Revere and Fauntleroy to com- 
mand the garrisons of Sonoma and San Juan respect- 
ively. The Portsmouth was left at San Francisco, 
and the Savannah at Monterey, the Erie being at 
the Hawaiian Islands, and the Warren not having 
yet arrived from Mazatlan. 

in the original reports and by Colton; but have been confused by several 
writers, who seem to have followed the Monterey Californian, Aug. 15, 1846. 

*^ On the voyage he wrote his report of July 81st, which has been so often 
cited in preceding pages. Stoat's Despatches on Conquest of Cal, with accom- 
panying documents, in U. S. Govt Doc, 29th cong. 2d sess., H. Ex. Doc. 4, p. 
G40 et seq.; and 30th cong. 1st sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, ptii., p. 2-50. Mont- 
gomery, on July 25th, one of the documents cited, wrote to Sloat a very kind 
and flattering letter of congratulation and good wishes. Sloat reached 
Washington early in November. 

John Drake Sloat was a native of New York, bom in 1780. He joined 
the navy in 1800; became sailing-master and lieutenant in 1812; commanded 
the U. S. schooner Grampus in 1824-5, cruising for pirates in the West In- 
dies squadron; served two years in the St Louis of the Pacific squadron; was 
made commander in 182G; and subsequently commanded at the recruiting 
station in New York City and the Portsmouth navy-yard, becoming post- 
captain in 1837. In 1845 Capt. Sloat was appointed to succeed Com. Dallas 
in command of the Pacific squadron. After his return from Cal. he was in 
command of the Norfolk navy-yard in 1848-50; revisited California as pres- 
ident of a drydock commission in 1852; was placed on the retired list in 
1856; promoted to be commodore when that rank was created in 18G2, and 
to be rear-admiral in 1866. He held several other official positions, and died 
at his home on Staten Island on Nov. 28, 1867. He was senior honorary 
member of the Society of California Pioneers; and it is chiefly from the reso- 
lutions published at his death that I take the preceding notes of his life. 
Cal. Pioneer Arch., MS., 53-60; also in many newspapers. 




August, 1846. 

Stockton's Proclamation — A Pronunciamiento Filibustero — Castro 
Retreats Southward — Pico's Proclamation — Action of the Assem- 
bly — Vain Efforts of Governor and General for Defence — No 
Enthusiasm or Resources— Castro at the Mesa — Fremont at San 
Diego — Stockton at San Pedro — The Commodore Refuses to Ne- 
gotiate FOR Fear his Terms may be Accepted — His Weak Ex- 
cuses — Larkin's Efforts — Castro and Pico Resolve to Quit Cali- 
fornia — Flight and Farewell Addresses — Pico's Land Grants — 
Stockton Enters Angeles— Submission of the People — Proclama- 
tions and Orders — News from Washington — Election Ordered — 
Plans for a Civil Government — Garrisons at the Southern 
Towns — Stockton and Fremont Return to the North. 

The proclamation, or address, issued by Commo- 
dore Robert F. Stockton on July 29tli, the date of 
his assuming the command and of his predecessor's 
departure, is given entire in the accompanying note.^ 

^ Address to the people of California. 'The Mexican government and their 
military leaders have, without cause, for a year past been threatening the U. 
S. with hostilities. They have recently, in pursuance of these threats, com- 
menced hostilities by attacking, with 7,000 men, a small detachment of 2,000 
U. S. troops, by whom they were signally defeated and routed. Gen. Castro, 
the commander-in-chief of the military forces of Cal., has violated every prin- 
ciple of international law and national hospitality, by hunting and pursuing, 
with several hundred soldiers, and with wicked intent, Capt. Fremont of the 
U. S. army, who came here to refresh his men, about forty in number, after 
a perilous journey across the mountains, on a scientific survey. For these re- 
peated hostilities and outrages, military possession was ordered to be taken 
of Monterey and S. F. until redress could be obtained from tiie govt of Mex- 
ico. No let or hindrance was given or intended to be given to the civil au- 
thority of the territory, or to the exercise of its accustomed functions. The 
officers were invited to remain, and promised protection in the performance 
of their duties as magistrates. They refused to do so, and departed, leaving 
the people in a state of anarchy and confusion. On assuming the command 
. . .1 find myself in possession of the ports of Monterey and S. F., with daily 



The reader will find it a most extraordinary document; 
and the more closely it is studied, the less commenda- 
ble it will appear. Stockton's policy of completing 
the military occupation of California by taking posses- 
reports from the interior of scenes of rapine, blood, and murder. Three inof- 
fensive American residents of the country have, witliin a few days, been mur- 
dered in the most brutal manner; and there are no Californian officers who 
will arrest and bring the murderers to justice, although it is well known who 
they are and where they arc. I must therefore, and will as soon as I can, 
adopt such measures as may seem best calculated to bring these criminals to 
justice, and to bestow peace and good order on the country. In the first place, 
however, I am constrained by every principle of national honor, as well as a 
due regard for the safety and best interests of the people of Cal. , to put an 
end at once and by force to the lawless depredations daily committed by Gen. 
Castro's men upon the persons and property of peaceful and unofiending in- 
habitants. I cannot, therefore, conhne my operations to the quiet and undis- 
turbed possession of the defenceless ports of Monterey and San Francisco, 
whilst the iieoplc elsewhere are sufiFering from lawless violence; but will im- 
mediately march against these boasting and abusive chiefs, who have not only 
violated every principle of national hospitality and good faith toward Capt. 
Fremont and his surveying party, but who, unless driven out, will, with the 
aid of the hostile Indians, keep this beautiful country in a constant state of 
revolution and blood, as well as against all others who maybe found in arms, 
or aiding or abetting Gen. Castro. The present general of the forces of Cal. 
is a usurper; has been guilty of great offences; has impoverished and drained 
the country of almost its last dollar; and has deserted his post now when most 
needed. He has deluded and deceived the inhabitants of Cal., and they wish 
his expulsion from the country. He came into power by rebellion and force, 
and by force he must be expelled. Mexico appears to have been compelled 
from time to time to abandon Cal. to the mercies of any wicked man who could 
muster 100 men in arms. Tlic distances from the capital are so great that she 
cannot, even in times of great distress, send timely aid to the inhabitants; and 
the lawless depredations upon their persons and property go invariably unpun- 
ished. She cannot or will not punish or control the chieftains who, one after 
the other, have defied her power, and kept Cal. in a constant scene of revolt 
and misery. The inhabitants are tired and disgusted with this constant suc- 
cession of military usurpers, and this insecurity of life and property. They 
invoke my protection. Therefore upon them I will not make war. I require, 
however, all officers, civil and military, and all other persons to remain quiet 
at their respective homes and stations, and to obey the orders they may re- 
ceive from me or by my authority; and if they do no injury or violence to 
my authority, none will be done to them. 

* But notice is herel)y given, that if any of the inhabitants of the country 
cither abandon their dwellings, or do any injury to the arms of the U. S., or 
to any person within this territory^ they will be treated as enemies, and suflfer 
accordingly. No person whatever is to be troubled in consequence of any part 
he may lieretofore have taken in the politics of the country, or for having 
been a subject of Gen. Castro. And all persons who may have belonged to 
the govt of Mexico, but who from this day acknowledge the authority of the 
existing laws, are to be treated in the same manner as other citizens of the U. 
S., provided they are obedient to the law and to the orders they shall receive 
from me or by my authority. The commander-in-chief does not desire to 
possess himself of one foot of Cal. for any other reason than as the only means 
to save from destruction the lives and property of the foreign residents, and 
citizens of the territory who have invoked his protection. As soon, therefore, 
as the officers of the civil law return to their proper duties, under a regularly 
organized govt, and give security for life, liberty, and property alike to all. 


siori of the southern towns, as compared with Sloat's 
poHcy, in the last days, of holding Monterey and San 
Francisco, and awaiting new orders and information, 
was probably a wise one. Though some thought dif- 
ferently, there is reason to doubt that progress could 
have been made toward voluntary submission by inac- 
tion at this stage of affairs. Instructions from Wash- 
ington in letter required an occupation of the ports 
only; but in spirit — and still more so the orders then 
en route — they involved the raising of the flag at inte- 
rior towns, if it could be done with safety. I think 
there can be no doubt that Stockton was fully justi- 
fied, not only in taking possession of the southern 
ports, but in extending the occupation to the inland 
towns, and in utilizing the services of Fremont's bat- 
talion for that purpose. That being the case, the only 
proclamation called for by the circumstances was a 
simple announcement of his accession to the command, 
and of his purpose to complete and maintain the mili- 
tary occupation, with a repetition of Sloat's promises 
and appeals for a peaceful submission. 

Nothing of the kind, however, is found in the com- 
modore's address, in which all the motives that had 
actuated Sloat were ignored, and an entirely new 
theory was evolved respecting what had been done and 
what was to be done. The paper was made up of 
falsehood, of irrelevant issues, and of bombastic ranting 
in about equal parts, the tone being offensive and im- 
politic even in those inconsiderable portions which were 
true and legitimate. Sloat wrote to Secretary Ban- 
croft, after reading the proclamation at sea: "It does 
not contain my reasons for taking possession of, or my 

the forces under my command will be withdrawn, and the people left to man- 
age their own affairs in theif own way.' 

The document bears no date, and some writers have dated it on the 23d, 
when Stockton took command on land; others on the 28th, when a copy of it 
was addressed to Com. Sloat; but there is no doubt that the true date should 
be the 29th. The proclamation is found in 31st Cong. 1st Sess., H. Ex. Dor. 
1, p. 31-3; also in Stocktoii's Life, 116-18; SouWs Annals, 103-4; Lancey's 
Cruise, 105-G; Cal. Pioneers, Arch., MS., 237-8. Spanish translations, orig- 
inal copies, Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 231; Janssens, Doc, MS., 8-l4. 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 17 


views or intentions toward that country; consequently 
it does not meet my approbation." The third para- 
graph, describing Castro's outrageous treatment of 
Fremont, is false from beginning to end; but had it 
been truth, the following statement that it was on ac- 
count of these outrages, and to obtain redress for them, 
that Monterey had been seized, was not only without 
foundation in truth, but was well known to be so by 
Stockton, who may charitably be presumed to have 
been deceived in the first respect. And in all that 
follows there is hardly a hint at the simple truth that 
California was to be held — the people being urged and 
encouraged meanwhile to voluntarily change their al- 
legiance — in military possession until the United 
States and Mexico should determine its fate b}^ treaty 
at the end of the war; but there are constant allu- 
sions to the punishment of criminals, to boastful and 
abusive chiefs, to usurpers, and to oppressed inhabi- 
tants who had invoked his protection. Unlike his 
government at Washin^on, Stockton did not care to 
make California a territory of the United States, nor 
did he want a foot of that country for any other rea- 
son than to save the lives and property of citizens; 
his mission was rather to avenge the wrongs of Fre- 
mont and of the people, to bring about reforms in 
local government, to punish the wicked rulers and the 
equally wicked and misguided Californians who should 
liesitate to abandon those rulers and should dare to 
defend their country! Why the wrongs of the poor 
American settlers and the resulting Bear Flag revolt 
were ignored by the commodore is a mystery. In the 
fifth and sixth paragraphs we read of prevalent "ra- 
pine, blood, and murder." There is but slight evi- 
dence, beyond the limits of the writer's imagination, 
that there were at this time any unusual disorders; 
]>ut had there been such disorders, it was certainly an 
extraordinary idea of Stockton's to throw the respon- 
sibility upon the local Mexican authorities who had 
declined to throw off at a moment's notice their na- 


tional allegiance, and accept office under the invaders 
of their country ! Castro was not a usurper in any 
sense that concerned Stockton as an officer of the 
United States, nor was the latter at all concerned in 
the faults of departmental rulers or in Mexican neg- 
lect of California, except that he might legitimately 
refer to them as a means of encouraging the people 
to submit with good grace to the inevitable. The proc- 
lamation was in all its phases offensive, impolitic^ un- 
called for, inaccurate, and most undignified.^ 

We have not far to go in search of the motives which 
prompted Stockton to publish an address so unworthy 
of him. It should have borne the signatures of Fre- 
mont and Gillespie, who managed to gain for the time 
being complete control over the commodore, and who 
dictated the proclamation with the sole view to ad- 
vance their own interests. They were shrewd and 
lucky adventurers. Stockton was the more ready to 
adopt their views, because by so doing he magnified 
the difficulties before him, and his glory in the event 
of success; because the address would make a good 
impression in the States, where little was likely to be 
known about the facts ; and because it seemed prudent, 
in view of the opinions entertained by Sloat and Lar- 
kin, to lay the foundations for a defence of himself 
and his government, in case the news of war should 
prove unfounded. In his later formal report to the 
government, which I quote at some length below, 
Stockton explained the considerations which "seemed 
to make prompt and decisive action an imperative 
duty" — considerations which, though involving exag- 
gerations of difficulties encountered, in the aggregate 
were amply sufficient to justify his action; but which 

^Tuthill, Hist. Cal.y 186-7, wittily says that Stockton's proclamation had 
a 'Mexican flavor,* but was carried out, 'a very un-Mexican procedure.' The 
Calif omians generally condemn and ridicule the address, though Stockton 
himself later became very popular with them. The commodore was never 
censured for his absurd utterances, nor does it clearly appear that he ever 
admitted their folly. 


by no means justified the tone of his pronunciamiento 
fihbustero of July 29th.3 

' Stockton's Report, 34-5. He says: 'The result of my inquiries and investi- 
gations showed me that the position I was about to occupy was an impor- 
tant and critical one. The intelligence of the commencement of hostilities 
between the two nations, although it had passed through Mexico, had reached 
Com. Sloat in advance of the Mexican authorities.' See Bandini, Doc, MS., 
85, for proof that before July 3d Covarrubias had brought news of hostilities 
on the Rio Grande. ' When he made his first hostile demonstrations, there- 
fore, the enemy, ignorant of the existence of the war, had regarded his acts 
as an unwarrantable exercise of power by the U. S., and the most lively in- 
dignation and bitter resentment pervaded the country. ' No such general bit- 
terness existed; what feeling did exist was due to the acts of the insurgents, 
not those of Sloat; and if all had been as Stockton states, how admirably 
well calculated was the address to assuage the popular indignation and ex- 
plain the true motives of the U. S. ! 'The public functionaries of the terri- 
tory were not slow in availing themselves of this feeling, and endeavored to 
stimulate it to the highest possible degree. A proclamation was put forth, de- 
nouncing in the most unmeasured terms all foreigners, but it was unquestion- 
ably aimed principally at the citizens of the U. S. and such others as sym- 
pathized with them.' He must refer not to Pico's proclamation of July 16th, 
which was not at all violent in tone; but to the earlier one, not called out by 
Sloat's acts, but by those of the Bear Flag insurgents ! 'Two or three were 
in fact murdered, and all were led to apprehend extermination from the san- 
guinary feeling of resentment which was everywhere breathed. The local 
legislature was in session. Gov. Pio Pico had assembled a force of about 
700 or 1,000 (!) men, supplied with seven pieces of artillery, breathing ven- 
geance against the i:)erpetrators of the insult and injury which they supposed 
had been inflicted. These hostile demonstrations were daily increasing, and 
by the time that the command devolved on me. . .the situation had assumed 
a critical and alarming appearance. Every citizen and friend of the U. S. 
throughout the territory was in imminent jeopardy; he could count upon no 
security for either property or life. It was well known that numerous emi- 
grants from the U. S. were on their way to Upper California. These march- 
ing in small and detached parties, encumbered with their wives and chil- 
dren and baggage, uninformed of the war and consequently unprepared for 
attack, would have been exposed to certain destruction' — a mode of theo- 
rizing likely to be very forcible in the States, but pure 'clap-trap' all the 
same. 'It was also ascertained that in anticipation of the eventual conquest 
of the country by the U. S., many of those in the actual possession of author- 
ity were preparing for this change by disposing of the public property, so 
that it might be found in private hands when the Americans should acquire 
possession, believing that private rights would be protected and individual 
property secure. Negotiations were in actual progress thus to acquire 3,000 
leagues of land, and to dispose of all the most valuable portions of the terri- 
tory appertaining to the missions at nominal prices, so that the conquerors 
should find the entire country appropriated to individuals, and in hands which 
could efiectually prevent sales to American citizens, and thus check the tide 
of immigration, while little or no benefit would result to the nation from the 
acquisition of this valuable territory.' More of this later. There was cer- 
tainly enough of truth in it to make the seizure of the capital at an early date 
desirable. 'All these considerations, together with others of inferior mo- 
ment, seemed to make prompt and decisive action an imperative duty. To 
retain possession merely of a few sea-pc rts, while cut off from all intercourse 
with the interior, exposed to constant attack by the concentrated forces of an 
exasperated enemy, appeared wholly useless. Yet to abandon ground which 
we ha<l occupied, to withdraw our forces from these points, to yield places 
where our flag had been floating in triumph, was an alternative not to be thought 


Castro's movements in the first half of July, few 
details being known, have already been described, as 
have those of Pico in the south.* From his northern 
campaign Castro had returned, after Torre's defeat, 
to Santa Clara, the 30th of June. From this point 
he sent Manuel Castro southward, to effect a recon- 
ciliation with Pico, and secure his cooperation in de- 
fensive measures. The general probably remained at 
Santa Clara until he received Sloat's despatch of July 
7th, departing on the evening of that day, and ar- 
riving at San Juan on the 8th. Here he passed one 
night, and on the 9th, after replying to the commo- 
dore's communications, started with his little army 
for the south. ^ Juan B. Alvarado accompanied him, 
though holding no command. The position taken 
by both officers in their communications to Sloat and 
Larkin is worthy of the highest commendation. To 
plot a declaration of independence in the interest of 
the United States had not perhaps been quite a cred- 
itable proceeding for Castro or Larkin, or the gov- 

•of, except as a last resource. Not only would all the advantages which had 
been obtained be thus abandoned, and perhaps never be regained without 
great expenditure of blood and treasure, but the pride and confidence of the 
enemy would be increased to a dangerous extent by such indications of our 
weakness and inability to maintain what we had won. ' 
*See chap. vi. of this vol. 

^ There are no means of proving definitely the date on which Castro left 
Sta Clara. John Daubenbiss, in a communication already cited, says Castro 
was at S. Josd when he started with despatches for Fremont, which must 
have been on the evening of the 7tli or morning of the 8th. Several Cali- 
fornians mention the fact that they encamped one night between Sta Clara 
and S. Juan, and spent one night at S. Juan. Larkin wrote on the 10th 
that Castro had arrived at S. Juan on the 8th, had that same day received 
Sloat's despatch, and had started on the 9th. LarhhCs Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 
73. Castro in his letter to Sloat, dated S. Juan July 9th, says: 'I received 
your note last night at Sta Clara.' Sloat's Despatches, 646. But this may bo 
an error, for it would seem that he must have got Silva's despatch if not 
Sloat's on the 7th. Larkin, Doc, MS., iv. 201, writing to Stearns on the 
8th, says that Alvarado went to S. Juan a week ago and Castro v\^ent 'yes- 
terday, before he heard from the commodore.' In another of same date, 
Off. Corresp., MS., i. 100-1, he says Castro will probably be at S. Juan to- 
night. Sloat, in a letter of the 9th, Fremont's Cat. Claims, 73, says: 'I 
have this moment learned by an Englishman, just arrived from Gen. Castro 
at the Pueblo (S. Jos6), that Castro was probably at St Johns last evening. . . 
The Englishman says that when the general read my proclamation to his 
troops he expressed his approbation of it.' Padre Real, writing from Sta 
Clara on the 12th, says that his compadre Castro left S. Juan* 4 days ago. 
Vallejo, Doc, MS., xxxiv. 221. 


erniiient at Washington; but for the commanding 
general to have betrayed his national allegiance in 
time of war by complying with Sloat's demands 
would have been in the highest degree dishonorable 
— even had Don Jose had the slightest wish to so 
comply after the acts of the insurgents. The force 
that Castro led to the south was possibly 150 men, 
but probably not over 100. He had about 160 in 
his San Pablo campaign, including Torre's men; and 
perhaps increased the number at Santa Clara to over 
200, though twice that number were talked about. 
Many of the militia served, however, against their 
will, and left their leader when he started for the 
south, some because they were unwilling to leave 
their families, and others because they deemed all de- 
fensive measures useless, or even favored the success 
of the Americans.^ 

On July 11th Castro was at Los Ojitos, near San 
Antonio; and from this point he sent a communica- 
tion to Pico, announcing Sloat's invasion. There was 
yet time, he wrote, to save the country; and he was 
on the march to join his forces to those of the gov- 
ernor for that purpose. Pico received the news at 
San Luis Obispo the same day, and at once sent or- 
ders to Los Angeles, countermanding previous orders 
to send troops northward to reenforce his army, and 
directing that every efibrt be made to protect the cap- 
ital.^ Both chiefs advancing met at Santa Margarita, 
perhaps on the same day, but more probably on the 
12th, to reconcile their past differences, as elsewhere 
recorded. Then they proceeded toward the capital, 
but not together, as it is stated, there being still much 
jealousy and distrust between the northern and south- 

^ In the letters to be cited in the next note Castro states his force to be 
IGO, but under the circumstances he was sure to overstate it; and Pico says 
the number was 200, his motives for exaggeration being stronger still. 

'July 11th, C. to P., P. from S. Luis to comandante of Angeles, and 
Sec. Moreno to sub-prefect. Deyt. St. Paj)., MS., iii. 73-4, 34. P. to Ban- 
dini on July I6th, speaking of his meeting Castro and his 200" men. Bandinif 
Doc, MS., 89. 


ern officers and men. Nothing is known in detail of 
the march of either division.^ 

Back at Santa Barbara, on his way to the capital. 
Governor Pico issued, on July 16th, the proclama- 
tion deemed necessary in such cases.^ It was an ap- 
peal to the people to defend their country against 
foreign invaders, with no peculiar features that re- 
quire notice. At the same time Don Pio convoked 
the assembly, and going in person some days later 
to Los Angeles, brought the subject of the invasion 
before the assembled legislators on July 24th, when 
he and others made patriotic speeches. The decision 
in this emergency was, as might have been expected, 
that the people must be called upon to do their duty, 
and that a reglamento must be formed for the organi- 

^ Moreno, Vida Militar, MS., 9-11, states that a definite agreement was 
made that the two armies should march and encamp 24 hours apart. The 
reconciliation and the subsequent march to Angeles are mentioned in the fol- 
lowing narratives, none of which present any details that seem worth repro- 
ducing: Gomez, Lo Que Sabe, MS., 284-300; Bernal, Mem., MS., 4-11; Ga- 
Undo, Apuntes, MS., 57-8; Amador, Mem., MS., 188-9, 169-70; Pinto, Apuni., 
101-2; Pico, Hist. Gal, MS., 146-50; Oslo, Hist. Gal, MS., 477-8; Buehm, 
Notas, MS., 23-5; Torre, Remin., MS., 152-3; Lugo, Vida, MS., 30-1; Ord, 
Ocurrencias, MS., 137-8; JulioGesar, CWts, MS., 7; Arnaz, Recuerdos, MS., 
83-5; Coronel, GosasdeGal, MS., 72-3; Pico, Acont., MS., 64-5. 

^ Official copy certified by Stearns at Angeles on July 19th, in Goronel, 
Doc, MS., 143. It is as follows: Tio Pico, constitutional governor of the 
dept of Cal., to its inhabitants, know: that, the country being threatened 
by the sea and land forces of the U. S. of America, which occupy the posts 
of Monterey, Sonoma, S. F., and others on the northern frontier of this dept, 
where already waves the banner of the stars, with threats of occupying the 
other ports and settlements in order to subject them to their laws; and the 
governor being firmly resolved to make every possible efibrt to repel this the 
most unjust aggression of late centuries, undertaken by a nation which is 
ruled by the most unheard-of ambition, and has formed the project of au- 
thorizing the robbery without disguising it with the slightest mark of shame, 
and only consulting the power held over us because of our political weak- 
ness — in the exercise of my constitutional powers, and by virtue of repeated 
superior orders by which I find myself authorized, I have determined to de- 
cree for strict observance the following articles: 1. All Mexican citizens, 
native and naturalized, residing in this dept are required by duty to defend 
the country when as now the national independence is in danger. Therefore 
every man without exception, from the age of 15 to 60, will present himself 
armed to the departmental govt to defend the just cause.' 2. Sub-prefects 
through alcaldes, etc., will at once cause to be formed lists of men, ages, etc., 
in each municipality. 3. But without waiting for the formation of these 
lists, citizens will present themselves at once. 4. Any Mexican refusing or 
excusing himself on any pretext will be treated as a traitor. 5. Those who 
are physically unable to serve in person must aid with their property — all to 
be indemnified by the national gcJvt in due time. 6. Sub-prefects to be held 
responsible for a strict observance of this decree. 


zation of the militia. Meanwhile Castro and his men 
had arrived, and the two chiefs had their work before 
them. There are left but slis^ht frao^ments of contem- 
porary correspondence to show what was taking place 
among the Angelinos in those days; but eked out with 
the personal recollections of many men who were actors 
or spectators in these last scenes of Californian alle- 
giance to Mexico, they are amply sufficient to indicate 
in a general way if not in detail the existing state of 

'" July 16th, Pico to Bandini, urging him to join the assembly. Don 
Juan in reply pleads ill health as a reason for not serving, though he protests 
hi.s patriotism as a true Mexican. Bandini, Doc, MS., 89, 92. July 16th, 
Sub-prefect Stearns to the rancheros. Threatens fines if they do not fly to the 
defence of their country. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 94. July 17th, Steams 
to Receptor Coronel at S. Pedro, urging him to take steps to learn the exact 
truth about the reports from Monterey, whether any proofs existed, etc. 
Coronel, Doc, MS., 195. July 17th, Pico orders sub-prefect to deliver artil- 
lery to Capt. Andres Pico. Dept. St. Pap., MS., vii. 35. July 18th, ayunt. 
is called upon by the gov. for aid; refers the matter to the assembly, but is 
duly patriotic. Los Angeles, Arch., MS., v. 326-7. July 20th, juez of S. 
Vicente. Indians very treacherous and hostile; but in case of need half the 
troops and vecinoa may go to fight for the country. Dept. St. Pap., Ben. Pref. 
y Juzg., MS., ii. 41-3. July 23d, B. D. Wilson to Steams. Yutes stealing 
iiorses. Eight Americans have come from Angeles to his rancho, fearing to re- 
main under present circumstances. Id. , ii. 45. July 24th, session of the assem- 
bly. Leg. Rec, MS., iv. 370-1. July 24th, Wilson to Steams. Must resign his 
cffice; people refuse to obey, either because they are opposed to the govt or 
because they regard him as one of the enemy. He keeps three armed for- 
eigners to protect his place from Indians; Mexicans will not aid him. Dept. 
St. Pap., Ben. Pref. y Juzg., MS., ii. 43-5. July 24th, Castro complains of 
the 'infamous holding-back' of property by certain persons, either from fear 
or from having been M'on over by the foe. Dept. St. Pap. , MS. , vii. 76. July 
25th, Lugo at S. Bernardino. Complains of adventurers drifting about, and of 
Wilson's efforts to make trouble. Id., Ben. Pref. y Juzg., MS., ii. 43. July 
27th, Figueroa and Botello as an assembly committee propose that — it is a 
sacred duty, etc., and the general must ask the gov. for aid, etc. Dept. St. 
Pap., MS., vii. 77. July 28th, Pico to alcalde. Everybody must be sent to 
defend the capital. Id., Aug., xi. 178. July 29th, reglamento militar in J 3 
articles, formed by 01 vera and Gucrra as a committee. Dept. St. Pap., MS., 
vii. 78-80. July 30th, Pico and Castro resolve to send a com. to collect 
anns of private persons, missions, etc., as far as the frontier of Lower Cal. 
Id., vii. 36. 

For personal reminiscences on this subject— affairs at Angeles July 16th- 
Aug. 10th — see the references of note 8, with the pages following those there 
named; and also Temple's Recoil, MS., 9-10; Vcdle, Lo Pa-mdo, MS., 44-5; 
Arce, Mem., MS., 55-8; Sanchez, Notas, MS., 13-14; Pico, in Hayes'' Mis- 
sion Book, i. 342,* and Los Angeles Express, Feb. 4, 1873; Alvarado, Hist. 
Caf., MS., V. 245-50; Juarez, Narrative, MS.; Osio, Hist. Cal., MS., 478-9; 
IVilson'a Observ., MS., 61-2; Castro, Servicios, MS.; Botello, Anales, MS., 
138-9; Los Angeles Hist. 41-5. From all these sources -we get in the aggre- 
gate much general information, but few details. Botello tells us that it was 
evident to all in the south from the first that Castro did not intend to fight 
the Americans. Jas R. Barton, llajies' Miss. Book, i. 365, says that he with 8 


All went wrong from the standpoint of Pico and 
Castro; that is, if we suppose them to have been in 
earnest, as to a certain extent they probably were 
not; or at least, they had no real expectation of suc- 
cess. There were no signs of popular enthusiasm for 
the cause. Subordinate local authorities issued their 
routine orders in a spirit of apathy. Few inhabitants 
rendered more implicit obedience than they were 
obliged to by fear or pride. Many of influence, na- 
tives as w^ell as foreigners, were secretly in sympathy 
with the invaders ; others more or less indifferent took 
the advice of American friends to hold themselves 
aloof as far as possible from actively engaging in a use- 
less struggle. Many, especially of the low^er classes, 
were very bitter against the Yankees; but of these 
some realized that their cause was hopeless, and but 
few had any confidence in the good faith or ability of 
the leaders. Personally, Pico and Castro succeeded 
in keeping up at least an appearance of friendly feel- 
ing ; but among their subordinates there was constant 
jealousy and quarrelling. The militiamen of the 
south refused to obey any but civic officers, while Cas- 
tro's men of the north regarded themselves as consti- 
tuting the ' regular army,' and assumed pretensions 
accordingly. The inhabitants of the city had organ- 
ized themselves during Pico's absence into a kind of 
military body for the defence of the town against 
Castro, but though they did not openly revolt now 
against the authority of the chiefs, it was well under- 
stood that they would not fight against foreigners. 
Pecruits for the regular force came in slowly. From 

or 10 others named, left Pico's force when Castro came and went to B. 1). 
Wilson's rancho, where they were persuaded to stay and defend themselves; 
but they later went back, on Pico's assurance that they would not be harmed. 
(See Lugo's commun. of July 25th, in this note.) Torre notes that the troops 
were fed on 'the bull that founded S. Gabriel.' Both he and Gomez note the 
carelessness and inefficiency of Castro's preparations at the Campo de la 
Mesa; and speak of the scare and confusion on one occasion when Andres 
Pico arrived with a party. Moreno tells how the Angeles troops refused to 
give up to Castro certain cannon, even at Pico's command. Coronel speaks 
of a conference lasting all day before the civic troops would consent to obey 
Castro. Pico mentions the same trouble and his own eJGForts to overcome it. 


outside districts came patriotic sentiments, with re- 
ofrets that the Indians were troublesome, and no men 
could be sent. Rancheros and others contributed 
horses, arms, and other property with evident reluc- 
tance and in small quantities. The government had 
lost its prestige, resources, and credit. In fact, Pico 
had exhausted all his popularity and power in prepar- 
ing for the northern campaign against Castro, and had 
raised less than a hundred men. These were all that 
he had now in reality under his command, and more 
than he could properly feed with the public funds at 
his disposal; but double this number had to be sup- 
ported, for Castro had brought another hundred, and 
no funds. All agree that the soldiers had a hard 
time, being in every respect inadequately provided for. 
Each party, abajeilos and arribenos, thought that par- 
tiality was shown to the others ; each shifted upon the 
other the responsibility for the country's critical po- 
sition; and naturally each constantly diminished in 
numbers. It has been common for American writers 
— and even Californians who wish to account for Stock- 
ton's easy success by charging the governor and gen- 
eral with cowardice — to speak of Castro's force as 800 
or 1,000 well armed and equipped men. There was 
no time in the last half of July when he could have 
led out of the city over 200 men to make even the 
pretence of a fight; and before the enemy actually 
came, the number was reduced to 100. 

In the early days of August Castro established him- 
self with part of his force at the Campo de la Mesa, a 
short distance out of the city, leaving Manuel Castro 
and Andres Pico in command of the forces left, most 
of which soon joined the general at the Mesa." At 
about the time of this movement came news that Fr^- 

^^ Aug. 4th, Castro to A. Pico, announcing his departure, and putting him 
in command of the auxiliaries. The necessity of complete harmony with D. 
Manuel and his men is urged. Pico, Doc, MS., ii. 93. Aug. .3d, Castro to 
Antonio Coronel, urging him to assemble his company, etc. Coronet, Doc.y 
MS., 245. 


mont had landed at San Diego, followed soon by the 
announcement of Stockton's landing at San Pedro. 
Of Fremont's operations at this time, no official report 
or other contemporary account is extant. He had 
sailed with his battalion in the Cyane July 26th from 
Monterey; and had reached San Diego on the 29th, 
taking possession and raising the flag without opposi- 
tion or incident, so far as may be known. ^'^ A week 
was spent in obtaining horses, which were by no means 
plentiful, and on August 8th the battalion, about 120 
strong, started northward, leaving a garrison at San 
Diego. Several Californians vaguely relate that on 
hearing of Fremont's arrival Castro despatched a party 
under Villavicencio, with Alvarado as counsellor, to 
meet the riflemen; but they returned without having 
seen the foe. 

Meanwhile Stockton, with 360 marines and seamen 
available for an enterprise on land, had sailed from 
Monterey August 1st on the Congress. On the way 
down the coast he touched at Santa Barbara, perhaps 
on the 4th or 5th, and raised the stars and stripes 
there, leaving a small garrison. Strangely, I find no 
definite record of the date, or of any circumstances 
connected with this event. ^^ Stockton arrived at San 
Pedro on the 6th. Here the flag was raised, and the 

^^July 29th is the date usually given, though I can trace it back only to 
Cutis' Conq., 154-5, in 1847; and Gillespie, in the Alta, July 3, 1866, says it 
was on the 30th. Lancey, Cruise, 110-13, tells us, on authority not given, 
that Andres Pico was found at S. Diego, and would have been put to death 
by the settlers had not Capt. Fitch answered for his honor, etc. As it was, 
Don Andres was allowed to carry the news to Angeles. I deem it very im- 
probable that anything of the kind occurred. Lancey also tells us that the 
Cijane returned immediately to S. Pedro to meet Stockton, arriving on the 
5th; and that Fremont started north on Aug. 3d, leaving a garrison of 40 
men. On Aug. 8th, Capt. Dupont, in reply to a petition of Pedro Carrillo 
and others to leave a guard to protect the citizens, says he has no power to 
do so, but that Gillespie will remain with a force until orders from the com- 
mander come. Carrillo [Pedro), Doc. , MS. , 4. Martin, Narr. , MS. , 32-3, says 
that Merritt with 13 men was left at S. Diego. Forster, Pioneer Data, INLS., 
30-1, had just arrived at S. Luis Rey when Fremont came there, and had 
some trouble with that officer about the mission property. Bidwell, Cal. 
I84I-8, MS., 176-80, gives some general recollections of the expedition, which 
he accompanied. 

^^ Stockton's Report, 36. Phelps, Fore arid Aft, 309, followed by Lancey, 
Cruise, 110, says the garrison was-composed of Midshipman Wm Mitchell and 
10 men. 


force was immediately landed, to be drilled and other- 
wise prepared for a march inland. ^^ Next da}^ two 
commissioners from Castro arrived. They were Pablo 
do la Guerra and Jose M. Flores, who after asking 
and receiving in writing an assurance that they would 
be well received, visited the camp and presented a 
letter from the general, which with Stockton's ac- 
count of the visit is given in a note.^^ The latter is 
not quite intelligible in all respects; but the former 
was a simple demand for an explanation of the com- 
modore's purposes, coupled with a clearly implied ex- 
pression of willingness to enter into negotiations, on 
the condition usual in such cases of a suspension of all 
hostilities pending the conference. The letter was an 

" Here Laiicey gives some information, the source of which has escaped my 
research. He says that the Cyane was found at S. Pedro, which I question; 
and that Lieut James F. Schenek was sent in the launch with 20 men to take 
the town. The 5 men of the garrison escaped, but the officer in command 
.staying to light his cigarito was made a prisoner and detained on the frigate. 
He also quotes from Capt. Paty, of the Don Quixote, an account of how he 
refused to sell, but allowed Stockton to take by night secretly, three cannon 
from his vessel. 

^* Translation in Stockton's Mil. and Naval Oper., 4, preceded by the note 
of Guerra and Flores and Stockton's reply, about the reception of the com- 
mission. The translation is evidently slipshod, but I have not found the 
original. 'The undersigned, commandant general and chief of the division of 
operations in this department, has the honor to direct liimself to the com- 
mander-in-chief of the U. S. naval forces anchored in the road of S. Pedro, 
iisking explanations on the conduct that he proposes to follow. Since know- 
ing that he wishes to enter into conferences on what is most convenient to the 
interests of both countries, the undersigned cannot see with serenity one pre- 
tend, with flattering expressions of peace, and without the formality that 
war between polished nations permits, to make an invasion in the terms that 
your lordship has verified it. Wishing, then [de acuerdo], with the governor, 
to avoid all the disasters that follow a war like that which your lordship pre- 
pares, it has appeared convenient to the undersigned to send to your lordship 
a commission. . .to know the wishes of your lordship, under the conception 
[with the understanding] that whatever conference may take place, it must 
be on the base that all Jiostile movements must be suspended by both forces, 
since on the contrary, there will not be negotiations.' Yours truly, etc. 
Stockton, Report, 30-7, says : ' Two persons arrived, representing themselves 
to bo commisioners sent from Gen. Castro, authorized to enter into negotia- 
tions with me, and bearing a letter from the general. . .Before, however, they 
would communicate the extent of their power or the nature of their instruc- 
tions ' — it does not appear in the letter that they had any powers or instruc- 
tions except to learn Stockton's wishes and his willingness for negotiations — 
* they made a preliminary demand that the further march of the troops must 
be arrested, and that I must not advance beyond the position which I then 
occupied. This proposition was peremptorily declined. I announced my de- 
termination to advance; and the commissioners returned to their camp with- 
out imparting further the object of the proposed negotiations.' 


indication that Castro was disposed to accede to the 
well known wishes of the United States; the condi- 
tion imposed was in every respect a moderate and 
reasonable one; and there was no good reason why 
Stockton should not welcome such a proposition, if 
he really wished to carry out the avowed policy of his 
government. He wished, however, nothing of the 
kind. He did not desire Castro's assent to the terms 
which he was obliged in a certain sense to offer, that 
is, a voluntary raising of the American flag by the 
departmental authorities. On the contrary, he wished 
to avoid the embarrassment of continuing those au- 
thorities in power on any basis, preferring, even in 
case the stars and stripes had to be lowered on ac- 
count of the non-existence of war, to leave a clear 
field to the Bear Flag insurgents. Accordingly the 
commodore rejected ''the Mexican proffers of negoti- 
ation," by putting his terms in the form of an insult- 
ing threat. ^*^ 

In his report of 1848, Stockton gives at some 
length what he chooses to have regarded as his mo- 
tives. His first point is that as no act of the local 
authorities would have been valid without approval 
of the Mexican government, and as no such ratifica- 
tion could be expected, the Californians would be at 
liberty to break any compact that might be made. 
But the only compact thought of was one that from 
its very nature could not be broken, and one respect- 

^^Aug. 7, 1846, Stockton to Castro, from San Pedro. 'G-eneral: I have 
the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, and with you deplore 
the war ... I do not desire to do more than ray duty calls upon me to do. I 
do not wish to war against California or her people; but as she is a depart- 
ment of Mexico, I must war against her until she ceases to be a part of the 
Mexican territory. This is my plain duty.' True enough, but this is not 
the ground taken in the proclamation of July 29th. ' I cannot, therefore, 
check my operations to negotiate on any other principle ' — no other had been 
proposed or hinted at — ' than that California will declare her independence, 
under the protection of the flag of the U. S. If, therefore, you will agree to 
hoist the American flag in California, I will stop my forces and negotiate the 
treaty. Your very obedient,' etc. A Spanish translation was printed in the 
Los Angeles California Meridional, July 18, 1855; in Goronel, Doc, MS., 174. 
In Doc. Hist. Cal., MS., iv. 1301, Pablo de la Guerra says that after a 
discussion of two hours he refused to accede to Stockton's demand that the 
Californians should raise the U. S. flag. 


ing which the approval or disapproval of Mexico was 
not of the slightest consequence. Secondly, he claims 
that recognition of the Californian authorities, by 
negotiating with them, would have involved recogni- 
tion of them in other matters, notably in that of 
granting lands. To question the right of a governor, 
in his capital, under his national flag, and in accord- 
ance with Mexican law, to grant lands, because a for- 
eign power had seized some parts of the department, 
was certainly a remarkable position to assume; but 
still Stockton's point had weight to this extent, that 
it was his duty to destroy Pico's authority as a Mex- 
ican governor as soon as possible by raising the flag 
over Los Angeles. Could the flag be raised volun- 
tarily by Pico, so much the better for the end in 
view. To gain time, therefore, the commodore de- 
clined a conference, for which twenty -four hours 
would have been ample time, and then put ofl* his ad- 
vance from San Pedro four days ! In the third place, 
a truce, argues Stockton, would have enabled the 
Californians to exterminate the settlers, attack the 
immigrants, increase and organize their forces, and 
in fact, do all the things that the present movement 
was intended to prevent. Even had the danger of 
such acts been originally less absurd and imaginary, 
it is not quite apparent that a short delay with a 
view to a voluntary, submission of the foe could have 
been much more disastrous than a longer delay for 
hostile preparations. Finally, the writer says: ''Our 
march would necessarily have been suspended at the 
outset; the sailors and marines must have reem- 
barked; the California battalion, so prompt and ener- 
getic in volunteering to aid us, must have been aban- 
doned to its own resources, and thus insulated and 
unsupported, must either have dispersed or fallen a 
sacrifice to an exasperated and powerful enemy" — 
thus implying, what there is not the slightest evidence 
to support, that Castro proposed a truce to continue 
until questions in dispute could be referred to Mex- 


ico. With all his lack of brilliancy, it is not likely 
that Don Jose ever conceived so stupid a proposition. 
Had he suggested such a plan at the proposed con- 
ference, it could have been rejected without great ex- 
penditure of time.^^ 

It must be evident to the reader, I think, that 
Stockton was bound as a representative of the United 
States, in view of past negotiations and promises of 
his government's confidential agents, to accede to 
Castro's request for a conference. The presumption 
was that the general was disposed to make the re- 
quired concessions; and if fruitless, the conference 
would involve no delay whatever. Stockton feared 
that Castro would yield; hence his refusal. His ex- 
planation was special pleading designed to cover up 
his real motives. Lest it appear, however, to any one 
that the view here presented is exaggerated, I intro- 
duce a hitherto missing link in this historic chain, 
matter which strengthens my criticism at every point, 
exhibits the American commander's conduct in a light 
by no means creditable to his honor, and shows that 
he has suppressed an essential part of the record. It 
has been noticed that Castro alluded to Stockton's 
desire for a conference. Larkin came down from 
Monterey on the Congress, still bent on acquiring 
California without the use of force. Immediately, on 
arrival at San Pedro, he addressed long communica- 
tions — the original blotters of which are in my posses- 
sion — to Abel Stearns, his associate confidential agent, 
though also Mexican sub-prefect. This gentleman 
was urged without loss of time to consult with Pico, 
Castro, the assembly, and leading citizens; and to 
place before them in the strongest possible manner 
the importance of at once declaring their independence 
of Mexico and putting California under the American 

^^Lancey, Cruise, 111, states definitely that Castro proposed a truce, 'by 
the terms of which each party should maintain its present position, unmo- 
lested by the others, until intelligence of a more definite character could be 
obtained from Mexico or the U. S., or until the conclusion of peace' ! Other 
writers have evidently fallen into a similar misunderstanding. 


flag. Stockton's irresistible force was presented, and 
even exaggerated, to show the folly of resistance. 
Larkin expressed his belief that the conjecture of war 
with Mexico would prove unfounded, in which case 
the flag would probably have to be lowered, and the 
countr}^ would be exposed to the hostile movements 
of the Sonoma insurgents, reenforced by 2,000 ex- 
pected immigrants. There was but one way to avoid 
this calamity, to prevent the shedding of blood in a 
useless resistance to Stockton, and to secure future 
happiness and prosperity. The leaders were to be 
assured that the commodore had no desire to wage 
war; but that he was anxious to have them volunta- 
rily organize a new government, retaining their offices, 
and that he would gladly enter into negotiations with 
them. They were to be urged to come for a confer- 
ence, accompanied if possible by Stearns and other 
prominent men, without delay, as the force would 
probably advance in twenty -four hours. "Could this 
proposal be acted on in the pueblo at once, war with- 
in the department is at an end. As the subject has 
for months been canvassed in California, it does not 
require long to come to a conclusion. "^^ There can 
be but little doubt, then, that it was in response to 
this invitation, virtually sent by Stockton himself, that 
Castro made overtures for a treaty, insultingly re- 
jected by the commodore, who feared that his terms 
might be accepted. If Castro had had half the men 
accredited to him, half as desperate and hostile as 
they were represented in Stockton's proclamation; 
and had they made an attack as they did later on 
Mervine, in this very region, or on Kearny at San 
Pascual, the disaster might justly have plunged the 
proud leader into life-long disgrace. 

On August 9th Castro, after holding a council of 
war with his officers at the Mesa, resolved to leave 
California, and notified Pico *to that affect in writing. 

^^ Aug. 6, 1846, Larkin to Stearns. Blotter copies of two letters in Lar^ 
)cxn\ Doc, MS., iv. 261, 268. 


** After having done all in my power," he states, ^' to pre- 
pare for the defence of the department, and to oppose 
the invasion of the United States forces by sea and 
land, I am obliged to-day to make known to you with 
regret that it is not possible to accomplish either ob- 
ject, because, notwithstanding your efforts to afford 
me all the aid in your power, I can count on only 100 
men, badly armed, worse supplied, and discontented 
by reason of the misery they suffer; so that I have 
reason to fear that not even these few men will fight 
when the necessity arises." He announced his inten- 
tion to leave the country, for the purpose of reporting 
to the supreme government; invited the governor to 
go with him; and enclosed two documents which he 
had written to ^ save his responsibility.' ^^ One of these 
was a farewell address to the people, issued a few days 
later by the general 6?i cammo ^ara Sonora. "With 
my heart full of the most cruel grief, I take leave of 
you. I leave the country of my birth, but with the 
hope of returning to destroy the slavery in which I 
leave you; for the day will come when our unfortunate 
fatherland can punish this usurpation, as rapacious as 
unjust, and in the face of the world exact satisfaction 
for its grievances. Friends, I confide in your loyalty 
and patriotism," etc.^^ 

The third document was a copy of Castro's reply 
to Stockton's communication of the 7th; and it was 
just such an answer as the commodore had desired 
and expected. If the general had at one time medi- 
tated a dishonorable submission to the enemy with a 
view of retaining his office, he had now abandoned the 
idea. His pride and that of his counsellors forbade 
the acceptance of terms offered in a manner so per- 
emptory and humiliating. His reply was an indig- 
nant rejection of the proposal to raise the American 

^* Aug. 9, 1846, Castro to Pico, written at the Campo en la Mesa. MorenOy 
Doc, MS., 12-13. 

20 Aug. (9th), Castro to the people of Cal. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 134; Doc 
Hist. Cal., MS., iii. 263. Possibly this is not the address enclosed to Pico 
on the 9th, but a later one; but if so, the other is not extant. 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 18 


flag; and his indignation was not altogether assumed 
for effect in Mexico, though such was the main pur- 
pose of the letter, and though at the time of writing 
he had resolved to attempt no defence. Stockton 
wrote a reply to this communication, though he after- 
ward denied having done so; but its purport is not 

On receipt of Castro's communication and accompa- 
nying documents, Pico submitted them to the assem- 

2> Aug. 9, 1846, Castro to Stockton, in Olvera, Doc, MS., 29-32; transla- 
tion in Stocktoii's Mil. and Naval Oper., 5-6. In his report of Sept. 18th 
Stockton says: 'I did not answer his last letter but by a verbal message, 
which does not properly belong to history.' Id., 2. But I have before me an 
original autograph letter in which Stockton on August 11th says to Larkin: 
• You will proceed with a flag of truce and deliver the accompanying letter to 
Gen. Castro, which is a reply to one sent by him to me yesterday. You will 
say nothing more than that you are ready to receive any explanations he may 
see fit to make of his letters. You M'ill be especially careful not to commit 
me in anything for the future, or to say anything of our movements or Fre- 
mont's.' Larkm's Doc, MS., iv. 250. 

Castro's letter to Stockton was as follows: 'With unspeakable surprise I 
have received your reply to my official note asking explanations of your pro- 
posed conduct in the invasion which the naval and land forces of the U. S. 
under your command have perpetrated in this department in my charge. The 
insidious contents of that note, and the humiliating propositions which it in- 
volves, oblige me, for the honor of the national arms committed to me, to re- 
produce to you the last of my communications, and to make clear to you to 
what degree I will sacrifice myself to preserve stainless the post which I hold. 
Since war exists between the U. S. and Mexico, and as you from duty wage 
it against this department, a part of Mexican territory, so I, as a Mexican 
chief of the forces under my orders, am resolved to defend its integrity at all 
hazards, and to repel an aggression like yours, without example in the civil- 
ized world, and all the more so when it is considered that there is as yet no 
express declaration of war between the two nations. You say that you can- 
not suspend your operations to negotiate on any basis other than that Califor- 
nia declare her independence under the protection of the U. S. Never will I 
consent that she commit so base an act; but even supposing she should attempt 
it, she would never carry it out imder the degrading conditions that you pro- 
pose. And Avhat would be her liberty with that protection offered her at the 
cannon's mouth? I understand it not; but be assured that while it exists I 
will take care that this part of the Mexican republic, in which I first saw the 
light, seal not its disgrace and slavery. Still more, believing doubtless that 
no drop of Mexican blood flows in my veins, and that I know not the scope 
of my duties, you offer me the most shameful of your propositions, which is 
to hoist the American flag in this department. Never, never, never! Much 
might I say to you on this subject; but I only ask you what would you do if 
the proposition were vice versa. Finally, Mr Commodore, I repeat that I will 
spare no sacrifice to oppose your intentions; and if by misfortune the flag of 
the U. S. waves in Cal. , it will not be by my consent, or by that of the last 
of my compatriots, but solely by force; with the understanding that I protest 
solemnly before the whole world against the means used, or which may be 
used, to separate this department from the Mexican republic, to whose flag 
it desires to belong, making you responsible for all the evils and misfortunes 
that may result from a war so unjust as that which has been declared against 
this peaceful department. I have the honor,' etc. 


bly on August 10th. In a speech he admitted the 
impossibihty of a successful defence; said he saw no 
other way to preserve the honor of the government 
than to depart with the general and report to the 
national authorities; and proposed that the assembly 
should dissolve, in order that the enemy might find 
none of the departmental authorities acting. The 
members, after each had given expression to the 
proper sentiments of patriotism, voted to approve 
Pico's resolve, and to adjourn sine die.^^ Then Don 
Pio issued his parting address to the people. In this 
document he announced that 'between ignominy and 
emigration,' he chose the latter. He denounced the 
ambitious efforts of the United States to secure the 
fairest portions of Mexican territory, and especially 
the shameful promises by which the foe had attempted 
to seduce Californians from their allegiance; and 
warned them to prove to the world that it was their 
desperate situation and want of resources, not their 
consent, that brought them under the usurper's yoke. 
''My friends, farewell! I take leave of you. I aban- 
don the country of my birth, my family, propert}^, and 
whatever else is most grateful to man, all to save the 
national honor. But I go with the sweet satisfaction 
that you will not second the deceitful views of the 
astute enemy; that your loyalty and firmness will 
prove an inexpugnable barrier to the machinations of 
the invader. In any event, guard your honor, and 
observe that the eyes of the entire universe are fixed 
upon you"!^^ 

It was on the night of the 10th that Pico and Cas- 
tro left the capital, the latter having disbanded his 
military force. Their departure and parting addresses 
have been ridiculed and denounced as a cowardly 

^^Aug. 10, 1846, record of assembly proceedings, in Olvera, Doc.y MS., 32- 
6. Some of Pico's friends have said that he wished to continue the defence, 
but was not permitted by the assembly. 

^^Pico, Proclama deDespedida, 10 deAgosto, 1846, MS. Original in Pico, 
Doc, MS., ii. 175-6; translation in Savage, Doc, MS., iii. 68-70; Hayes* 
Emig. Notes, 340-1. 


flight before the enemy, and an absurd exhibition of 
Mexican bombast. By their selfish incompetence and 
foohsh strife in past years, these men had done much 
to reduce CaHfornia to her present unhappy condition, 
so that she could no longer make even an honorable 
show of resistance to the invader. I have not much 
to say in praise of either as man or ruler. Yet as 
they had to choose between flight and surrender, and 
as they were Mexican officers, and as it was a firmly 
rooted Mexican idea that flight and patriotic protests 
saved the national honor in such cases, I think their 
final acts deserve some commendation. They chose 
flight attended with some hardship, rather than the 
continuance of power that had been promised them 
under the American flag, coupled with dishonor in 
the eyes of their countrymen. This shows that they 
still retained a praiseworthy pride. 

And here I must notice briefly one phase of this 
matter, which is more fully treated in other chapters 
relating to the missions and to the subject of land 
grants. It has been a current statement among writ- 
ers on California that Pico in the last months of his 
rule exerted himself to distribute among his friends 
— and especially among Englishmen, with a view to 
keep them out of the hands of Americans — the larg- 
est possible amount of public lands; that he made 
haste to sell the mission property, for the most part 
to Englishmen also, for whatever prices he could get; 
and that he carried away with him some $20,000 of 
funds resulting from these sales, or which had been 
contributed by the people for the country's defence. 
With respect to the last charge, I hasten to say, that 
beyond the statements of Don Pio's personal enemies, 
and the current rumors growing out of those state- 
ments, I fipd no evidence that he carried out of the 
country a dollar of the public funds; and it is very 
certain that he could not have obtained any such sum 
as that named. Again, it may be said that the polit- 
ical aspect of Pico's land grants and mission sales, as 


part of a scheme to give California to England, is 
almost purely imaginary. Many men, foreseeing a 
great increase in the value of lands, were anxious in 
these last months to secure grants ; and the governor, 
so far as his quarrels with Castro left him free to 
attend to such matters, was disposed to grant their 
request. It was by no means discreditable to him, 
that before his power was gone he was disposed to 
distribute the public lands among his friends, so long 
as he acted legally. As to the sales of the missions, 
they were effected in pursuance of a policy formed in 
earlier years, with the approval of the assembly. 
The price was as large as could be obtained, and I 
find no reason to doubt that the proceeds were patri- 
otically squandered in support of the government, 
and preparations against Castro. The only question 
is the legal one of Pico's power to sell the missions 
at all under existing circumstances, a matter that is 
not to be discussed here. So far nothing appears 
against the governor in this respect, taking the vari- 
ous grants as they appear on their face. It would be 
well for his reputation could we stop here; but there 
is no room to doubt that some of the titles were 
written by the governor just before his departure, 
or even after his return, and fraudulently antedated. 
Comment is unnecessary. 

Pico and Castro, though they both left Los Angeles 
on August 10th, did not flee together. Castro, ac- 
companied by his secretary, Francisco Arce, and a 
small party ^* — others having turned back from San 
Bernardino, and Weber being carried along as a 
prisoner but soon released — took the Colorado Piver 
route to Sonora, and reached Altar the 7th of Septem- 
ber. Here he communicated with Governor Cuesta, 
and sent despatches to Mexico describing the condi- 
tion of affairs in California and urging measures to 
recover the country and avenge her wrongs. '^^ Of 

'^^Arce, Mem., MS., 58-9, says there were 19 men. Jesus Pico, Acont, 
MS., 66-7, names Salomon Pico, Rudecindo Castro, and three Soberanes. 
'^^ Sept. 9, 1840, Castro at Altar to Cuesta, and Cuesta 's reply of the 1.3th, in 


course no practical attention was paid to the general's 
suggestions. After some military service in Sinai oa, 
Castro returned to California in 1848, and departed 
again in 1853 to become a Mexican official in Lower 
California. Pico, leaving Los Angeles in the night 
of August 10th — after issuing the proclamation al- 
ready noted, and also notifying the foreign consuls 
that California was to be left without a government — 
spent the night at Yorba's ranclio, and went next day 
to San Juan Capistrano, where, and in the vicinity of 
his rancho of Santa Margarita, he was concealed by 
his brother-in-law, John Forster, for about a month. 
He states that he had many narrow escapes from fall- 
ing into the hands of Fremont's men, and of a party 
under Santiago E. Argiiello. This is confirmed by 
Forster, and to some extent by others. It is probable 
that the efforts to effect his capture, rather vaguely 
mentioned by many writers, have been considerably 
exaggerated. At any rate, Fremont, at Bandini's 
intercession, assured Don Pio that he should not be 
molested.'^^ It was hoped perhaps that if he could be 
induced to remain, he might consent to convoke the 

El Sonorense, Sept. 25, 1846. A list of Castro's companions was enclosed, but 
unfortunately not printed. Sept. 9th, Castro to min. of war. Explains the cir- 
cumstances that forced him to leave his post. Awaits orders at Altar, as ho 
lias no means of pursuing his journey. Thinks that with a great effort triumph 
would still not be very difficult. The foe has but 3,000 men, most of them 
not available except on the coast. In the interior, only the settlers and 400 
or 500 hunters were to be feared. Castro thinks no very large number of 
immigrants can be expected until next year. Col. Alvarado, Prefect Manuel 
Castro, and Capt. Torre, with citizens, are hidden in the mountains, ready to 
sally forth and defeat the 'infernal intrigues of our oppressors.' Original 
blotter in Caatro, Doc, MS., li. 136. Oct. 15th, reply of min. of war. 
Expresses sympathy and indignation. The govt with a view of vengeance is 
expediting the march of Gen. Bustamante. Id., ii. 144. In Nov. Escudero, 
diputado from Chihuahua, proposed in congress a scheme and loan to recover 
New Mexico and Cal., which he thought would be easy. Escudero, Mem. 
Chih., 46-9. In his report of Dec. 14, 1846, Min. Lafragua speaks of anew 
organization of the Californias into two territories; but the appointment 
of gefes politicos had no effect because of the invasion. Mexico, Mem. Rela- 
cio/ies, 1847, p. 163. 

^'Sept. 15, 1846, Pico from S. Vicente to Bandini, with thanks for his 
efforts. Mentions a letter from Fremont which he has answered. Bandini, 
Doc, MS., 97. Capt. Phelps, Fore and Aft, 305-6, who was at S. Juan be- 
fore Pico's departure, mentions Fremont's letter, and says that he met Don 
Pio on the way to S. Diego. He then seemed disposed to give himself up, as 
Fr(jmont had urged. 


assembly and go through the form of turning over 
the country to the United States. The fugitive gov- 
ernor, however, 'was joined by his secretary Moreno,^^ 
and escaped across the Hne into Baja California on 
September 7th. With Macedonio Gonzalez he went 
on to Mulege, where he arrived the 2 2d of October. 
In November he crossed the gulf to Guaymas, and 
was subsequently driven to Hermosillo when Guay- 
mas was bombarded by the Americans. Over and 
over again he wrote to the national government, urging 
measures for the recovery of California; but no atten- 
tion was paid to his representations; and he could 
obtain neither the payment of his salary, thanks for 
past sacrifices, nor even recognition as still entitled to 
be called governor. He returned to California in the 
middle of 1848.2' 

Meanwhile Stockton at San Pedro was engaged in 
drilling his 360 men, most of them ignorant of the 
simplest military movements on land, and making 
other preparations for an advance, from the 7th to 
the 11th. The commodore's biographer, in a very in- 
accurate and bombastic narrative of this campaign, 
which has apparently been the source of most that 
has since been written on the subject,^^ tells us that 
when Castro's commissioners arrived, the American 
commander, regarding them as spies, resolved to de- 
ceive them as to his strength. He therefore caused 

^^ There is a tradition that they carried away and buried the government 
archives; but a large part of the documents were retained by Moreno, and 
their contents now form part of my collection, as Moreno^ Dociunentos para la 
Historia de California. Colexcion de D. Jose Matias Moreno, secretario que 
fue del gobierno, ano de 1846, la cual existe original en la Baja California, en 
posesion de la Sra Dona Prudenciana Lopez. Copias y extractos por Thos 
Savage, 1878, MS., fob, 138 p. 

^^ March 29, 1846, Pico at Hermosillo to min. of rel., describing his move- 
ments since leaving Cal., and mentioning the contents and dates of previous 
reports. Pico, Doc, MS., i. 31-6; Savage, Doc., MS., iii. 76-84; Hayes^ 
Emig. Notes, i. 340, 342. See also Pico,' Hist. Cal., MS., 161-74; Forster's 
Pioneer Data, MS., 32-5; Los Aiigeles Express, Feb. 4, 1873; Man on, Recuer- 
dos, MS., 10-13; Wilson's Observ., MS., 61-2; Monterey Callfornlan, Aug. 22, 

^Stockton's Life, 119-23, followed closely in most respects by Tuthill, 
Lancey, and others. 


his men to march in a circle, one part of which was 
concealed, until each had come many times into view. 
He also received Guerra and Flores where his guns 
were, posting himself by the side of a 32-pounder, 
while the others, six-pounders, were covered with 
skins, so as to make it appear that all were of the 
same large calibre. To what extent the account of 
these manoeuvres is founded on fact, there are no means 
of knowing; but the additional statements that Stock- 
ton, having delivered his message for Castro to the 
embassadors ''in the most fierce and offensive man- 
ner, and in a tone of voice significant of the most im- 
placable and hostile determination, waived them from 
his presence imperiously, with the insulting impera- 
tive, ' Vamose V' that another embassy was treated 
with like insolence, with the successful purpose of in- 
timidating the foe; and that to a third embassy, pom- 
pously informing the commander that "if he marched 
upon the town he would find it the grave of his men," 
the reply was, ''Have the bells ready to toll at eight 
o'clock, as T shall be there at that time" — may very 
safely be designated as falsehoods pure and simple. ^° 

The march to Los Angeles was begun on August 
11th. Larkin had been sent ahead with a message 
for Castro, but that same afternoon news came of the 
general's retreat. No enemy was seen, but progress 
was very slow, as the artillery had to be drawn by 
oxen or by the sailors themselves. Two nights were 
spent on the road. Captain Phelps of the Moscoiv 
arrived at San Pedro the day after Stockton's depart- 
ure and at once started to overtake him. He gives 
an excellent account of the expedition and events 
immediately following, indeed the only one extant, so 
far as details are concerned. From him we learn 
that 150 sailors were sent back as soon as Castro's 
flight was known; that the main force encamped for 
the night at Temple's rancho, was kept under arms 

^^ It is fair to say that the last lie was taken by this writer, as it has been 
by others, from Colton^s Three Year.'* in Cal., 56, 


for two hours on account of the alarm created by the 
cries of two coyotes; and that Stockton and Larkin 
entered the city, where they were joined by the 
writer, before the arrival of the troops.^^ At Castro's 
abandoned camp were found ten pieces of artillery, 
four of them spiked. ^'^ Major Fremont from San 
Diego met the marine force just outside the town; 
and at about 4 p, m. on the 13th the combined armies 
entered the capital, where the flag of the United 
States was at once raised with the usual ceremonies, 
and, here as elsewhere in California, without the 
slightest demonstrations of opposition or disapproval 
on the part of the inhabitants.^^ 

Some of the Angelinos had fled to their ranchos or 
those of their friends as the Americans drew near 
the town; others had withdrawn to the hill to see 
what the strangers would do with the capital. The 
latter returned to their homes before night, attracted 
by assurances that no harm should befall them, and un- 
■able to resist the influence of a full brass band. The 
former also returned with few exceptions as the days 
passed by. Fremont and his men made a tour south- 
ward in quest of fugitives; but were not able greatly 
to advance the cause of reconciliation, on account of 

^^ Phelps' Fore and Aft, 297, etc. Of Stockton's army on the march he 
says: 'First came the full band of music, followed by Capt. Zeilin and his 
marines; then Lieut Schenck and the web-feet; Lieut Tilghman and a bat- 
tery of four quarter-deck guns mounted on as many bullock carts; the car- 
riages of the guns were secured by the breechings, and ready for instant ser- 
vice. Each cart was drawn by four oxen — the baggage ammunition foUoweil 
in similar teams; the purser, doctor, and some other officers — part of them 
mounted on rather sorry horses, the others on foot. ' Li Stockton's Life we 
read: ' The enemy were often in sight, threatening their flanks or advance 
guard, and hovering on the brows of adjacent hills'! B. D. Wilson, Obser- 
vations, MS., 62-3, claims that he had gone out to meet the Americans; and 
that it was on his invitation that Stockton came with him in advance into 
the town. 

'^ Stockton's Mil. and Naval Oper. , 2. 

'' On Stockton's occupation of Los Angeles, see also Stockton's Report, 38- 
9; reports of secretaries of war and navy, Dec. 5, 1846, £9th Cong. 2d Sess., 
H. Ex. Doc. no. 4, p. 52, 379; Stockton's despatches and annexed documents, 
in 30ih Cong. 1st Sess., IT. Ex. Doc. no. 70, p. 38-42; Lancey's Cruise, 111-14; 
Tuthill's Hist. Cal., 186-9; S. F. Bulletin, Oct. 10, 1866; Monterey Califor- 
nian, Sept. 19, 1846. The first official act of Stockton at Angeles, as shown 
by the records, was the appointment of Larkin as U. S. navy agent. Lar- 
kin's Doc, MS., iv. 254. 


the bad reputation given him by Castro, though wlien 
better known he became popular in the south. The 
chief influence brought to bear was that of old for- 
eign residents, who counselled submission. Phelps, 
a well known trader, did something in this direction 
during a business trip to San Diego and back. Offi- 
cials were required to give their parole; others merely 
to comply with the necessary police regulations of 
military rule. Castro's men had started in several 
parties for their northern homes soon after the gen- 
eral's departure, dispersing as they advanced. A few 
of them were captured and paroled on the way by a 
detachment of the California battalion sent in pur- 
suit.^* Others were paroled later in the north; while 
a few officers of both sections escaped altogether the 
humiliation of submission. The parole records have 
not been preserved; but the names of certain officers 
who broke their promise will be given later. Local 
authorities as a rule declined to serve ; but there were 
exceptions; and several prominent abajenos, notably 
Bandini and Argiiello of San Diego, became openly 
partisans of the American cause.^^ There still smoul- 

3* I find ill Lancey^s Cruise, 117, more particulars of this matter than any- 
whei'e else. He says Lieut Maddox, with the companies of Ford and Swift, 
left Angeles Aug. 16th; captured and paroled 15 officers near S, Luis Obispo 
after a ' sharp skirmish; ' and reached Monterey on Sept. 2d (this date comes 
from the Cariforniaii, Sept. 5, 184G) or 10th. Alvarado and Jesus Pico 
were among those taken; but I do not think Manuel Castro was paroled, as 
Lancey states, or that there was any skirmish. Pico, Acont., MS., 67-8, 
mentions the arrest and parole of himself and Alvarado by a party that took 
possession of S. Luis. Alvarado, Hist. Cat., MS., v. 249-50, mentions his 
own arrest and parole by Fremont's men; but says that Castro had previously 
disbanded his men and taken refuge in the mountains. Several Calif ornians 
describe the march vaguely, but say nothing of any hostile meeting. I have 
before me an original summons sent by Sub-prefect Thompson to Manuel 
Castro and his companions to appear before him on complaint of citizens 
whose horses they were taking on their retreat. It is dated Sta Bdrbara 
Aug. 13th. Doc. Jllxf. Cal., MS., iii. 261. Of course the summons was not 
obeyed, though some say that Don Manuel sent back a challenge to Thomp- 
son to come out and fight. On or about Aug, 26th Maddox seized 17 horses 
and a mule on Capt. Gucrra's S. Julian rancho. It appears he had an order 
for certain animals, but took more than the order called for. So testifies the 
majordomo Gregorio Lopez. Gaerra, Doc, MS., vii. 200-1. 

'^In Bandini, Doc, MS., 98, I have an address to the people, in which 
Bandini and Argiiello explain their reasons for accepting the situation, and 
urge all Califomians to do the same. It is a long document, but does not re- 


dered in the hearts of many CaHfornians a bitter 
Mexican prejudice against the invaders, but there 
were few if any open manifestations of discontent. 
Mounting a few guns on the hill, and organizing a 
garrison, Stockton soon retired his naval force to the 
Congress. It only remains to notice the commodore's 
successive orders, his proposed organization of a civil 
government, his placing of garrisons in the southern 
towns, and his departure for the north.^^ 

On August 17th Stockton published his second 
proclamation to the people, signing himself '* Com- 
mander-in-chief and governor of the territory of Cali- 
fornia." It merits none of the unfavorable criticism 
called forth by the earlier production. In it the com- 
modore simply announced that the country now be- 
longed to the United States, and as soon as possible 
would be governed like any other territory of that 
nation; but meanwhile by military law, though the 
people were invited to choose their local civil officers, 
if the incumbents declined to serve. Liberty of con- 
science and full protection of life and property were 
promised to all who should adhere to the new govern- 
ment; none others were permitted to remain. Thieves 
were to be punished by hard labor on the public works ; 
and the California battalion was to be kept in the 
service to preserve the peace.^^ It was also on the 

quire quotation. The arguments presented rest on Mexico's past neglect 
and California's consequent misfortunes; on the inevitable separation from 
Mexico sooner or later; on the impossibility of resisting the American forces; 
on the necessity of self-preservation; and on the prospective prosperity of the 
country under so liberal, fraternal, and strong a govt as that of the U. S. 
In Id., 93, 96, I have letters from Fremont and David Alexander toBandini, 
Aug, 22d, 24th, in which both dwell on the glories of American rule, address- 
ing Don Juan as a friend of the cause, and Fremont also announcing the defi- 
nite news of the Mexican war. 

36 In the Monterey, Consulate Arch., MS., ii. 18, Larkin charges up his 
expenses on the southern trip $376. Sept. 2d, Olvera informs Moreno that 
Luis Vignes had to give up the archives. Moreno, Doc, MS., 23. Hargrave, 
Col. in '46, MS., 8-9, notes the accidental discharge of his gun while he was 
doing duty as sentry, and Fremont was in the room above, the bullet narrow- 
ly missing him. Tu thill. Hist. Gal., 189-90, and several others represent 
Fremont as not having arrived until after the occupation of Angeles. 

3^ Aug. 17, 1846, Stockton's proclamation. 29th Cong. 2d sess., II. Ex. 
Doc. no. 4, P- 669-70; S. Diego, Arch., MS., 316-17 (an original); Monte- 
rey Calif ornian, Sept. 5, 1846; S. F. Cal. Star, Jan. 9, 1847; Bryant's 


17th that Fremont's men started in search of Pico 
and other CaUfornian fugitives; and on the same day 
the Warren, Commander Hull, anchored at San 
Pedro from Mazatlan and Monterey, bringing definite 
news of a declaration of war.^^ On the 15th Stock- 
ton had fixed the duties on foreign goods at fifteen 
per cent ad valorem, and tonnage duties at fifty cents 
per ton; on the 19th, he proclaimed all the Mexican 
coast south of San Diego ''to be in a state of vigorous 
blockade," except against armed vessels of neutral 
nations; and on the 20th he issued orders to com- 
manders Hull and Dupont to blockade the ports of 
Mazatlan and San Bias with the Warren and Cyane}^ 
On the 2 2d of August Governor Stockton ordered 
an election of alcaldes and other municipal officers to 
be held in the several towns and districts of Califor- 
nia, September 15th/^ This order, identical in pur- 
port with a paragraph of the proclamation of the 17th, 
was the only step taken by the new governor — except 
the act of calling himself governor — toward the or- 
ganization of a civil government. All else took the 
form of plans for the future. He determined, and 
announced his intention both to Fremont and to the 
secretary of the navy, to form a civil territorial gov- 
ernment, and to appoint a governor in the person of 
Fremont, with other territorial authorities to rule 
after his own departure. He even prepared a plan, 
or constitution, which he submitted to his govern- 
ment, but did not publish or attempt to put it in op- 

What I Saw in Cal. , 298-9, etc. All persona during the continuance of mili- 
tary law were required to be within their houses from 10 o'clock to sunrise; 
and persons found with arms outside their own houses were to be treated as 
enemies. It will be noticed that this document dififers in no important re- 
spect from Sloat's proclamation of July 7th. 

^8 Phelps' Fore and A/t, 303. The arrival of the Warren at Monterey on 
Aug. 12th, and departure on the 13th, are noted in Colton's Three Years, 28-9. 
The vessel brought not only Mexican papers announcing the war, but also 
Sec. Bancroft's despatch of May 13th. 

^* Stockton's Despatches, 1846, in 29th Cong. 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. no. 4, 
p. 068-75. 

*°/cZ., 071; Dept. St. Pap., S. Jos6, MS., vi. 59-60. The former alcal- 
des, whether elected or appointed, were to hold the election. 


oration." In his later report, the commodore gave 
somewhat elaborately the motives that impelled him 
to substitute a civil for a military government, but 
did not allude to any definite acts beyond the issu- 
ance of commercial regulations and the order for local 
elections; though he tried to create the impression, 
as he always maintained,- that the change from mili- 
tary to civil rule was practically effected at the time.*"^ 
His motives as alleged were good and sufficient; his 
right as a naval commander ordered to occupy Mexi- 
can ports to establish a civil government need not be 
questioned here; but the fact that he did not organ- 
ize such a government, while intending to do so, has 
some importance in view of later complications. 

Deeming the conquest complete, Stockton resolved 

*^ Aug. 24th, Stockton to Fremont; Aug. 28th, Stockton to Bancroft; no 
date, form of constitution; in Stockton's Despatches, ISJfiy p. 668-75. To Fre- 
mont he says: 'I propose before I leave the territory to appoint you to be 
governor, and Capt. Gillespie the secretary thereof; and to appoint also the 
council of state, and all the necessary officers.' To Bancroft he says the 
same in substance; and adds: 'I enclose to you several despatches marked 1 
to 14,' of which no, 6 is the constitution, 'by which you will see what sort 
of a government I have established, and how I am proceeding. ' The docu- 
ment no. 6, without title or date, is as follows, with many verbal omissions for 
the purpose of condensation: I, Robert F. Stockton, commander and governor, 
having taken Cal. by right of conquest, declare it to be a territory of the U. 
8.; and I order that the form of govt, until altered by the U. S., shall be 
as follows: A governor to hold office 4 years, unless removed by the pres. 
of the U. S. , to be commander-in-chief, and supt of Ind. afifairs, to approve 
laws, grant pardons and reprieves, commission officers, and see to the execu- 
tion of the laws. A secretary to record and preserve all proceedings and 
laws, to forward copies each year to the pres. and to congress, and to per- 
form the duties of gov. temporarily, in case of that officer's absence, etc. A 
legislative council of 7 appointed by gov. for two years, but subsequently 
elected each year; the council's power to extend to all rightful subjects of 
legislation; but no law to interfere with primary disposal of land, no tax on 
U. S. property, and no discrimination in taxes between residents and non- 
residents. Laws must be approved by the gov. Municipal officers to con- 
tinue as before, under the laws of Mexico, until otherwise provided for by 
gov. and council. Council to hold its first session when and where the gov. 
shall direct; but as soon as possible gov. and council to establish the capital. 

^"^ Stockton'' s Report, 40. 'Actuated by such considerations, I gave my 
immediate attention to the establishment, upon a permanent basis, of a civil 
govt throughout the country, as much in conformity with the former usages 
of the country as could be done in the absence of any written code.' 'Hav- 
ing achieved the conquest of the country, and finding my military strength 
ample to retain it, the establishment of a civil govt naturally and necessarily 
resulted.' Aug. 27th, Thos Frazer writes to Larkin: 'I hear some rumors 
that Fremont is going to compel Stockton to nominate him as governor. 
The pretensions of the major run high, because old Benton will stick to liim 
through thick and thin.' Larkin's Doc, MS., iv. 263. 


to withdraw his marine force from California, "to 
leave the desk and camp and take to the ship and sea," 
and to devote his personal attention to naval opera- 
tions on the Mexican coast. With this object in view, 
he ordered Major Freniont to increase his battalion 
to 300 men, to garrison the diflferent towns, and to 
meet him at San Francisco on October 25th to per- 
fect final arrangements.^ All that had been done so 
far was reported on August 28th to the government 
at Washington, the report with accompanying docu- 
ments being sent overland by Kit Carson at that 
time.'** On the last day of August Stockton commis- 
sioned Gillespie as commandant of the southern de- 
partment, instructing him to maintain martial law, 
and enforce the observation of the proclamation of the 
17th, but authorizing him also to grant written per- 
mits to persons known to be friendly, to be out before 
sunrise and carry weapons.*^ And finally, on Septem- 
ber 2d, the last day of his stay at Los Angeles, he 
issued a general order creating the office of military 
commandant of the territory, which was divided into 
three departments. Frdmont was appointed on the 
same day to fill the new command.'*^ 

Gillespie was left with a garrison of 50 men at Los 
Angeles. It would seem that no garrison was left at 
San Diego, though a few men were sent there a little 
later. The position of Bandini and Argiiello has been 
already noted; and several citizens accepted office un- 
der the new regime. John Bid well was put in charge 
of San Luis Rey and the mission property.*'' Stock- 

*^Aug. 24th, S. to F. Stockton's Despatches, 675. The garrisons, befort 
aud after the increase of force by enlistment, were to be for S. F., 50, 50; 
for Monterey, 50, 50; Sta Bdrbara, 25, 25; Angeles, 50, 50; and S. Diego, — , 
25 — so that the increase was not chiefly for garrison duty, but *to watcli 
Indians and otiier enemies.' 

** These doctiments form the collection which I have quoted as Stockton's 
JJe.^patrhes, 1846, in 20th Conrf. M Sess., II. Ex. Doc. 4, p. 668-75. 

*^ Aug. 31st, Stockton to Gillespie, Stocktoii's Mil. and NavalOper., 7-8. 
Gillespie might also appoint local civil officers where none were elected. 

*** Id. , p. 8. Frdmont's appointment as military commandant of the terri- 
tory is given in FHmonVs Court-martial, 110. 

*^ BidwelVs Col. 1841-8, MS., 180-1. Aug. 18th, Miguel de Pedrorena 
accepts the office of justice of the peace temporarily. Hayes Doc, MS., 187. 


ton left Los Angeles September 2d; and three days 
later sailed northward on the Congress. At Santa 
Bd,rbara on the 7th he took on board Mitchell and 
his men, formerly left here as a garrison. Here he 
also met Midshipman McRae, who after crossing 
Mexico had arrived in a Mexican brig, and who brought 
despatches dated Washington, May 15th, two days 
later than those received by the Warren}^ He arrived 
at Monterey the 15th, where the Erie from Honolulu 
had arrived before him. Meanwhile Major Frdmont, 
with the remnant of his battalion, left Los Angeles 
and marched northward to the Sacramento Valley. 
Nothing is known of the march, except that Lieuten- 
ant Talbot and nine men were left as a garrison at 
Santa Barbara to replace the men taken away on the 

Aug. 18th-25th, Pedro C. Carrillo accepts Stockton's appointment as collector 
of customs. Carrillo (P.), Doc, MS., 5-7. 

*" Stockton acknowledges the receipt, and mentions his meeting with Mc- 
Rae in his report to the sec. of navy of Sept. IStb, StocTctoii'a Mil. and Naval 
Oper., 1-2, at the same time stating that he had carried out the orders of May 
15th, even to the sending of an overland courier, and so he had, and somewhat 
more, as the order did not literally require more than the occupation of Cali- 
fomian port towns. The order is found in 29th Cong. 2d Sess. , JI. Ex. Doc. , 
19; Cutis' Conq., append,, 254-5. Phelps, Fore and Aft, 309-10, who was at 
Sta Barbara, notes McRae's arrival. The brig on which he came was seized 
by Mitchell. The passenger pretended — it does not clearly appear why — to 
be an English officer, with despatches for the admiral. Phelps suspected this 
was not true; and while quizzing him at dinner the Congress appeared, and 
the officer threw off his disguise. He said he had crossed to Acapulco in the 
disguise of an English officer. Stockton wished to charter Phelps' vessel as a 
privateer, but the offer was declined for business reasons. In a speech at a 
banquet of the Cal. Assoc. Pioneers, N. Y., 1875, p. 20, Ex-governor Rodman 
M. Price, formerly purser of the Cyane, said: 'This I know, the official news 
of the existence of war came by Lieut McRae of the navy, a special messenger 
from Washington to Monterey, and I carried it from there to Los Angeles 
and delivered it to Com. Stockton. ' 

*'In his Oeog. Memoir, 39-40, Fremont gives an account of the physical 
features of the country as observed on this march; but the only dates are 
' about the middle of Sept. we encamped near the summit of the Cuesta de Sta 
Iitds,' and at the end of Sept. were in the region of Soledad. Lancey, Cruise, 
120, says that Fremont left Angeles Sept. 8th with 40 men; and Sta Bdrbara 
Sept. 13th with 30 men. 



August-October, 1846. 

At Monterey — Colton's Diaries — The First Newspaper — Fauntlerot 
AND Snyder at San Juan— San Josi: under Hyde, Watmough, and 
Weber — San Francisco Affairs'— Reception to Stockton — Revere 
at Sonoma — Meeting of Bear Flag Men — Release of Prisoners — 
TheWalla Walla Invasion — Stockton's Grand Plans— Joan Flaco's 
Ride — Preparations to Quell the Revolt — Gillespie at Angeles — 
Varela's Attack— Jose Maria Flores—Pronunciamiento— Fight at 
Chino Rancuo — Gillespie's Capitulation — Talbot Driven from 
Santa BArbara — Mebritt from San Diego — Mervine's Defeat — 
Meeting of the Assembly — Stockton at San Pedro — San Diego 

Affairs at the north from August to the end of 
October, during the absence of Stockton and after his 
return, may be best and briefly presented in the form 
of local annals. Let us glance at each of the northern 
settlements, Monterey, San Juan, San Jos6, San Fran- 
cisco, and Sutter's Fort. 

Walter Colton, sometime chaplain in the navy, per- 
formed occasional religious service in these times, both 
on land and on shipboard. He served as alcalde, at 
first by military appointment with Rodman M. Price, 
and later by popular election; kept a diary, subsequently 
published; and in company with Semple edited and 
published a newspaper. From the book and paper, 
with some slight aid from other sources, I form a 
chronologic summary of local happenings, which is 



appended in a note.^ Colton's diary is largely devoted 
to petty though interesting details of incidents con- 
nected with the author's administration of justice, with 

^ Aug, 1st, Stockton sailed on the Congress to undertake the conquest of 
the south. Aug. 7th, news that the BrooUyn with its Mormon colony had 
arrived at S. Francisco. Aug. 11th, a deserter reports Castro as on his last 
legs, anxious to fly to Mex. H. B. M. brig-of-war Spy arrived from S. Bias. 
' She has undoubtedly news of moment, but will not reveal it.' Aug. 12th, 
the Warren, Com. Hull, arrived from Mazatlan, bringing the official news of 
war. ' The mysterious silence of the officers of the Spy is now explained. ' ' The 
war news produced a profound sensation here. The whole population were 
instantly thrown into groups in the corridors and at the corners of streets. 
The hum of voices continued late into the night. It was an extinguisher on 
the hopes of those who had looked to Mexico for aid, or who had clung to the 
expectation that the American govt would repudiate our possession of Cal. 
They now relinquish all idea of a return to their old political connection, and 
appear resigned to their fate.' Aug. 13th, the Warren sailed for S. Pedro. 
Alcaldes Coltonand Price issued an order strictly prohibiting the sale of liquors 
or wines, under penalty of forfeiture, fine, and imprisonment. Colton relates 
several instances of efforts on the part of dealers to evade this law. Aug. 14th, 
20 Indians arrested for stealing horses brought to town. They were turned 
over to Capt. Mevrine, who drew up his troops in a hollow square, with the 
Indians in the centre expecting to be shot; biit they were set free, and then 
taken on board the Savannah to inspire them with awe, being furnished with 
blankets and handkerchiefs, and dismissed to the air of Hail Columbia, vow- 
ing eternal allegiance to the Americans ! Aug. 15th, first number of the Cal- 
if ornian published. A man from Castro's camp reported that the general was 
disposed to treat with Stockton, having only about 130 soldiers left. Aug. 
18th-19th, some of Castro's officers, including Joaq. de la Torre, arrived and 
were paroled, announcing the flight of the general and governor. Aug. 21st, 
Lieut McLane returned from an exped. against marauding Ind. Aug. 22d, 
29th, no. 2 and 3 of the Californian appeared. 

Sept. 2d, Lieut Maddox, with captains Ford and Swift and a portion of 
their companies, arrived from Los Angeles. Sept. 3d, despatches from Stock- 
ton included his procl. of Aug. 17th; also stated that Gov. Pico had not es- 
caped, but surrendered. Sept. 4th, first jury impanelled in Cal. to try the 
case of Isaac Graham vs Charles Roussillon, ' involving property on one side 
and integrity of character on the other.' The verdict acquitted the French- 
man of fraudulent intent, and found a balance due plaintiff of $65. Graham 
was satisfied, and retracted in writing his charges. The jury was composed 
of Juan Malarin, W. E. P. Hartnell, Manuel Diaz, Jos(3 Abrego, Rafael 
Sanchez, Pedro Narvaez, Charles Chase, Geo. Minor, Milton Little, Robert 
H. Thomes, Florencio Serrano, and Talbot H. Green. Sept. 4tl), Com. Mer- 
vine issued an order requiring all of Castro's officers to present themselves 
and sign paroles; also those already paroled were to give additional pledges. 
Sept. 5th, no. 4 of the Californian. Sept. 11th, an express announced the 
arrival of 1,000 Walla Walla Ind. on the Sac, bent on vengeance. (See 
later in this chapter.) Sept. 12th, no. 5 of the Californian. Ex-gov. Alva- 
rado arrived about this time and was well received by Capt. Mervine and 
by the citizens of Monterey. Sept. 14th, news that 2,000 immigrants had 
arrived at the Sacramento. Sept. 15th, municipal election held, with fol- 
lowing results: Alcalde, Walter Colton; alcalde pro tem., Milton Little; 
alcalde's councillors, Spence, Hartnell, Malarin, and Diaz; treasurer of mu- 
nicipal funds, Salvador Munras. Sept. 15th, Stockton arrived in the Con- 
dress. Sept. 17th, Larkin recommends the confirmation of T. H. Green as 
collector of the port, and the appointment of Hartnell as surveyor and ap- 
praiser of the custom-house. This was done. Sept. 10th, the Erie, tlie 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 19 


frequent remarks on the manners and customs of the 
people — the whole being an excellent picture of the 
times, whose reproduction en resume is of course im- 
possible. The Savannah remained at anchor in the 
bay during Stockton's absence in the south; and Cap- 
tain Mervine was military commandant of the post. 
On the commodore's return Lieutenant Maddox was 
made commandant of the central district on Sept. 18th, 
and a company of dragoons was organized. On the hill 
in a position commanding both town and harbor were 
built by Cecil a block-house and battery, where three 
42-pounders were mounted. The structure, sur- 

date of whose arrival from Honolulu is not recorded, sailed for Panamd 
with despatches. No. 6 of the Cal'ifornian. Sept. 20th (or 22d), the Savan- 
nah sailed for S. Francisco. Sept. 25th (or 24th), the Congress with Stock- 
ton sailed for S. F. Additional orders on the sale of liquors. Sept. 26th, 
no. 7 of the Calif ornian, Sept. 29th, order forbidding gambling. A cou- 
rier from Los Angeles brought news of a revolt of tlie Californians in the 

Oct. 1st, arrived the French corvette Brillante, bringing M. Moerenhaut, 
French consul at Monterey. Oct. 3d, no. 8 of the Califomian. Oct. 5th, 
news that the Savannah had sailed for the south, * to bring the insurgents if 
possible to an engagement; but the probability is that they will instantly dis- 
band and fly to the forests.' Oct. 10th, no. 9 of the Califomian. Lieut Mad- 
dox's company mustered into the service; 2 officers and 15 men. 30 men 
joined later. Mustered out April 1847. 31st Cong. 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 24, 
22 h. vol. vii. Oct. 14th, streets barricaded and other preparations made for 
defence. ' Bands have been gathering in the vicinity to make a night assault 
on Monterey. Their plan is to capture or drive out the small American force 
here and plunder the town.' Oct. 15th, alarm still continued. A company 
of Californians seen in the distance. A despatch sent by the Barnstable to 
Stockton for aid. Oct. 16th, Stockton arrived in the Congress, having been 
met outside by the messenger while en route for the south. He landed a force 
sufficient to protect the town, 50 men and 3 guns under Baldwin and John- 
son. Oct. 17th, no. 10 of the Califomian. Oct. 19th, a party of 20 Califor- 
nians left the town and vicinity to join the insurgents. The Congress sailed 
for S. Pedro. Oct. 23d, the Vandalia arrived from tlie south witli news of 
Gillespie's capitulation at Angeles and Mervine's defeat at S. Pedro. Oct. 24th 
news of the Sterling with Fremont and his men, who had turned back while 
en route for the south. No. 11 of the Califomian. Oct. 27th, Lieut W. B. 
Kenshaw arrived in the Malek Adhel, a prize brig taken at Mazatlan. Oct. 
28th, Frdmont and his men arrived in a famished condition. Scouts reported 
a large band of Californians in the hills; and it was thought that they intended 
to attack the town that night, Maddox being absent with 30 men at S. Juan, 
but that their plan was frustrated by Fremont's arrival. Oct. 29th, Maddox 
returned with a field-piece and many horses. Oct. 30th, a man in charge of 
the horses near the town was shot by two of the Californians, but not killed. 
Oct. 31st, no. 12 of the Califomian. See Colton's Three Years in California, 
20-84. In the S. J. Pioneer, Oct. 13, 1877, is a narrative of the excitement 
caused by the discharge of a cannon when strapped on the back of a mule 
that had brought it from S. Juan; also in Id., Jan. 19, 1878, of Mariano So- 
bcranes' tussle with a sentinel, while surreptitiously visiting his family in 


rounded by a ditch, was at first called Fort Stockton, 
but the name was soon changed to Fort Mervine. 
At first all was quiet; but at the news of southern 
revolt, the arribefios also began to show disaffection. 
Bands of Californians, more or less fully organized, 
ranged the hills and drove off horses, even threaten- 
ing the town ; so that before the end of October much 
fear was experienced, not only by Americans, but es- 
pecially by the many native families who had been 
somewhat prominent in espousing the American cause. 
Respecting the acts of the rebels in later months I 
shall have something to say hereafter. 

The appearance of the first newspaper is an event 
which merits notice here. Not only had there never 
been a paper published in the country, but there had 
been no subscribers to any paper, except a few in the 
last two or threie years to the Honolulu Polynesian. 
The Mexican official paper was sent with some show 
of regularity to the Californian government; small 
packages of different Mexican and Spanish papers 
were forwarded occasionally by friends to officers, pa- 
dres, or citizens; while trading vessels sometimes 
brought to resident foreigners old numbers of jour- 
nals from the United States, from the Sandwich Is- 
lands, or even from Oregon. It was probably Kobert 
Semple who conceived the idea of a Californian news- 
paper in 1846, as Figueroa had done without any 
practical results in earlier times. Semple knew some- 
thing of setting type. Colton favored the scheme, 
and had had some editorial experience in Philadelphia 
on the North American. The two agreed to edit and 
publish a paper in partnership. Colton describes his 
partner as *^an emigrant from Kentucky, in a buck- 
skin dress, a fox-skin cap; true with the rifle, ready 
with his pen, and quick at the. type-case." At the 
government house were found the old press and type, 
whose products in 1834-42 I have had frequent occa- 
sion to cite in past chapters. The apparatus had not 
been used for several years, having been pronounced 


useless, perhaps as a mere excuse, when Pico wished 
to transfer it to Angeles in 1845. It had not, as one 
of the editors stated, and as many have repeated, been 
'* picked up in a cloister," or '' used by a Roman Catho- 
lic monk in printing a few sectarian tracts;" nor had 
it ever been used by the padres at all; but had been 
the property of Agustin V. Zamorano, who sold it 
to the government, which made some slight use of it 
in publishing official orders, both at Monterey and So- 
noma. Colton says : " The press was old enough to be 
preserved as a curiosity; the mice had burrowed in 
the balls; there were no rules, no leads; and the types 
were rusty and all in pi. It was only by scouring 
that the letters could be made to show their faces. A 
sheet or two of tin were procured, and these with a 
jack-knife were cut into rules and leads. Luckily we 
found with the press the greater part of a keg of ink; 
and now came the main scratch for paper. None 
could be found, except what is used to envelope the 
tobacco of the cigar smoked here by the natives. A 
coaster had a small supply of this on board, which we 
procured. It is in sheets a little larger than the com- 
mon-sized foolscap." It was the ordinary Spanish 
foolscap on which most of the archives of California 
and other Spanish American provinces are written, 
the thicker the better for writing, the thinner grades 
being preferred for cigarettes, but there being rarely 
any opportunity of choice for either purpose. The 
font of type being intended for the Spanish lan- 
guage, vv had to serve for w. " The upper room in 
the north end of the upper barracks was furnished by 
Lieutenant Minor as an office," writes Semple; and the 
first number of the Californian appeared on August 
15th. **A crowd was waiting when the first sheet 
was thrown from the press. It produced quite a lit- 
tle sensation. Never was a bank run upon harder; 
not, however, by people with paper to get specie, but 
exactly the reverse." The paper appeared every Sat- 
urday during the rest of the year and later, being 


transferred to San Francisco in May 1847. It con- 
tained official orders, current news chiefly local, edito- 
rials and correspondence on the condition and pros- 
pects of the country, contributions from native Cali- 
fbrnians who favored the new order of things, and 
several historical articles on the Bear Flag revolt and 
other past events. By the aid of Hartnell, a portion 
of the contents was printed in Spanish. The man- 
agement of the paper reflected much credit on the 
publishers. Semple, though he had obtained his dis- 
charge from Fauntleroy's company in order that he 
might devote his whole attention to the new enter- 
prise, was absent much of the time in the region of 
San Francisco Bay, engaged — according to the state- 
ment of his partner, who with a type-setting sailor 
had most of the work to do — in land speculations and 
in vain search for a wife.^ 

Just before Stockton's departure for the south, Cap- 
tain Fauntleroy and 'Major' Jacob Snyder with fifty 
men were sent to occupy San Juan in the place of the 
small garrison left there by Fremont. Of their expe- 
rience there all that is recorded is an expedition dur- 

2 The set of The Galifornian, Aug. 15, 1846, to May 6, 1847, nos 1-38, so 
far as published at Monterey, which I have consulted, and a MS. resum6 of 
which forms a volume in my Library, is that of the heirs of Ramon Arguello, 
in possession of Juan Malarin of Sta Clara, originally preserved by David 
Spence. I have also a few specimen numbers of the original. There is a set 
in the Cal, State Library at Sac. ; also one nearly complete in the library 
of the Cal. Pioneers in 8. F. It appears that the first page of no. 1 was 
printed as a prospectus, bearing the name of Semple alone as publisher. 
A copy is in Taylor's Specimens of the Press, in the Mercantile Library of S. 
F. In the 'extra' of Jan. 28, 1847, Colton gives an account of the enterprise. 
A letter of Semple to Fauntleroy explaining the plan and asking his own dis- 
charge, is found in Cal. Pioneers, Arch., MS., 225-7. The paper is noticed 
in the Orcrjon Spectator of Nov. 12, 1846; also in the Honolulu papers. See 
full particulars in Coltoii's Three Years in Gal., 32, etc. Francis D. Clark, in 
a letter of Feb. 22, 1878, in 8. Jos6 Pioneer, March 9, 1878, gives a statement 
of John R. Gould of Maryland, that he fitted up the office, restored the type, 
and printed the first numbers of the Callfornian. Gould may be the sailor 
alluded to by Colton; but as he also says that Semple did not become a part- 
ner for several months, the accuracy of his whole statement may be ques- 
tioned. Gould's claim is also noticed in Upham's Notes, 387. The S. Jose 
Pioneer, Dec. 15, 1877, prints a bill for $20, the subscription to the paper for 
5 years to John H. Watmough, signed by Semple on Aug. 28, 1846. See also 
Hist. Dr., i. 467, this series, for claim of M. G. Foisy that he worked as printer 
on the Monterey Caltfornian. 


ing the first week in August against a party of Ind- 
ians who had driven off two hundred horses from San 
Jose, and who were forced to give up their booty after 
a fiofht in which several of their number were killed. 
It would appear that Fauntleroy's men were subse- 
quently withdrawn ; for late in October, after the revolt 
at Los Angeles had begun to trouble the northerners, 
Maddox marched with thirty men to San Juan, spiked 
the iron cannon, took the locks from the muskets, 
and carried the brass pieces with all horses obtainable 
to Monterey.^ 

Respecting events at San Jose from August to 
October, our information is hardly less meagre. James 
Stokes was succeeded as alcalde by George Hyde, 
who was appointed ''civil magistrate for the district 
of Santa Clara, with headquarters at San Josd/' by 
Montgomery on August 26th. Purser James H. 
Watmough, being appointed commandant of Santa 
Clara on the same date, with a company of forty men, 
was sent down from San Francisco ; but of his exploits 
we know only that on September 14th he is said to 
have returned to San Jose from an Indian expedition 
of two weeks, in which he recovered one hundred 
horses and killed several gentiles; and that he prob- 
ably went back to San Francisco before the end of 
September. Early in October, Charles M. Weber 
returned from his captivity in the south, and was made 
military commandant of San Jose district by Mont- 
gomery, who also desired him to accept the position 
of alcalde. Weber was authorized to organize a mili- 
tary force and defend the town and vicinity if possi- 
ble, but to retreat to Yerba Buena rather than to run 
too great risks. No hostilities were committed, how- 
ever, beyond the occasional cutting of the flag-stafF 
halyards at night; and Captain Weber was able to 
collect a considerable body of horses, with which he 

'See Col ton' 8 Three Years in Cal., 25, 82; Monterey Californian, Oct. 31, 
1846; and Maddox's letter of Oct. 28th to Weber, in S. Jos6 Pioneer, March 
6, 1880. 


is said to have arrived at San Juan just after the de- 
parture of Maddox.* 

At San Francisco, where Montgomery remained 
in the Portsmouth as mihtary commandant of the 
northern district, while Watson commanded the Httle 
garrison on shore, all was peace and quiet, with no rip- 
ple of excitement, except on the arrival of vessels or 
couriers with news from abroad, or on the occasion of 
a grand social festivity on shore or on shipboard. 
Lieutenant Washington A. Bartlett was on August 
26th appointed alcalde of the San Francisco district, 
with headquarters at Yerba Buena. September 15th 
a municipal election was held, at which nearly a hun- 
dred votes were cast. The officers elected were Wash- 
ington Bartlett, alcalde; Jose de Jesus Noe, second 
alcalde; John Bose, treasurer; and Peter T. Sherre- 
beck, collector/ In the last days of September the 
Savannah and Congress arrived from Monterey, and 
Stockton was given a public reception the 5th of 
October. As the commodore landed from his barge, 
at a point corresponding to what is now Clay street 
between Montgomery and Sansome, William H. Bus- 
sell delivered a flowery address of welcome; after 
which the people marched in procession round the 

^Monterey Californian, Sept. 5, 26, 1846; original letters of Bartlett and 
Montgomery to Weber, in Halleck's Mex. Land Laws, MS. ; account from 
Weber's own statements and papers, in S. Jos6 Pioneer, March 6, 1880. In 
one of his letters, Montgomery orders Weber to throw a ' kurral ' round his 
camp to prevent surprise. Sends him three recruits, also powder and cloth- 
ing. Militiamen can draw no pay except when in actual service. $15 per 
month for subsistence is too much. Sept. 15th, Alcalde Hyde takes the pa- 
role of Capt. Jos6 Fernandez. Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 241. 

'^Monterey Cali/ornian, Sept. 5, 26, Oct. 3, 1846; Hyde's Statement, MS., 
8; S. Jos4 Pioneer, Jan. 4, 1879. The vote at the election was as follows: al- 
calde, Bartlett 66, Ridley 29, Spear 1; 2d alcalde, No6 63, Haro 24, scatter- 
ing 9; treasurer. Rose 67, Francis Hoen 20, scattering 9; collector, Sherreback 
86, J. Cooper 2. The inspectors were Wm H. Davis, Frank Ward, Francisco 
Guerrero, and Francisco Haro. Aug. 29th, Bartlett enclosed to the alcalde 
of Sonoma 'rules and regulations for trade in the bay.' Santa Posa Sonoma 
Democrat, Dec. 30, 1871. On Sept. 15th Montgomery issued an order that 
Indians should not be held in service except under a voluntary contract, ac- 
knowledged before a magistrate, and equally binding upon employer and em- 
ploy6. Cali/ornian, Oct. 3. Among the festivities are notably a ball at the 
residence of Leidesdorff on Sept. 8th, at which over 100 ladies, Californian and 
American, were present; and another on board the MaQnoiia on the 18tli. 


plaza and back to Montgomery street, where they 
listened to a speech from Stockton. The discourse, 
in which he narrated the conquest of Los Angeles, 
and made known his plans of vengeance on the '^cow- 
ardly assassins" who had dared to revolt against his 
authority, was decidedly of the bombastic and 'spread- 
eagle' variety, marked by the same disregard of truth 
that had been shown in his first proclamation; but 
tlie speaker was eloquent and the audience pleased. 
Then there was more marching; and finally, the gov- 
ernor with prominent citizens made a tour on horse- 
back to the presidio and mission, returning in time 
for a collation given by the committee of arrange- 
ments at LeidesdorfF's residence.^ The rumor of an 
impending Indian invasion had hastened Stockton's 
visit to the north. This rumor proved unfounded ; 
but news of a revolt in the south had reached him 
just after his arrival at San Francisco. October 4th, 
the day before the reception, Mervine had sailed in 
the Savannah for San Pedro; on the 13th the Con- 
gress and the chartered merchant vessel Sterling^ 
Captain Vincent, left the bay for the southern coast, 
the former with Stockton on board, and the latter 
bearing Major Fremont and his battalion. There is 
nothing to be noted at San Francisco after their de- 

Revere had been sent by Montgomery to command 
the garrison at Sonoma, consisting of Company B of 
the battalion, under Captain Grigsb3^ Revere tells 
us that a few disaffected Californians were still prowl- 
ing about the district, in pursuit of whom on one 
occasion he made an expedition with sixteen men to 

^Monterey Cali/ornian, Oct. 24, 1846, with Stockton's speecli in full; Ore- 
gon Spectator, April 1, 1847; Davis' Olimpses of the Past, MS., 349-51, the 
author having been present at the reception; Stockton's Report; and Lancey, 
Cruise, 131-2, who gives additional particulars. He names Frank Ward as 
marshal; describes the composition of the procession formed at 10 A. M. ; says 
that in addition to his reply to Russell made at the wharf, Stockton made a 
h)ng speech in reply to a toast at the collation, declaring that if one hair of 
the brave men left to garrison the south should be injured, he 'would wade 
knee-deep in his own blood (!) to avenge it;' and mentions a ball which 
chjscd the day's festivities, and lasted until daylight the next morning. 


the region of Point Reyes. He did not find the 
party sought, but he was able to join in a very en- 
joyable elk -hunt. The only other feature of his stay 
at Sonoma — and a very interesting one, as described 
by him, though not very important from an historical 
point of view — was an expedition by way of Napa 
Valley to the Laguna, now Clear Lake, and back by 
the Kussian Kiver Valley, in September. With the 
exception of a few military and hunting expeditions, 
meagrely recorded, this was the first visit to the lake 
by a traveler who included in the record a description 
of the country.^ On his return, the lieutenant heard 
of the threatened Walla Walla invasion, and hastened 
with a force to the Sacramento ; while the Vallejos 
were commissioned to protect the Sonoma frontier 
with a force of Christian Indians, and Misroon be- 
fore September 11th assumed command of the garri- 
son. Manuel E. Mcintosh was now alcalde of So- 
noma; and the victims of the capture of June 14th 

» Revere's Tour of Duty, 77-95, 112-18, 130-47. The author's description 
of the regions visited is quite extensive. He and his few companions passed 
the first night at Yount's; arrived by noon at the place of J. B. Chiles, who was 
one of the party, ranking as sergeant; and spent the second night at the rancho 
of Greenock (Guenoc?), the frontier settler. Next morning, crossing the last 
mountain pass, and riding all day through timbered uplands, broad savannahs, 
and shady glades, at sunset they reached the lake near its narrowest part, at 
tlie base of the high sierra — now Uncle Sam Mountain — opposite a pretty 
islet. After some hesitation, caused by memories of the servant-hunting 
raids of the Californians, the Indians ferried the visitors over on tule balzas 
to their island town of 200 or 300 inhabitants. Next day they journeyed 
over the sterile obsidian-covered plain, to go round the mountain, into the 
beautiful country on the upper lake — now Big Valley — and at sunset reached 
Hopitsewah, or Sacred Town, the largest of the rancherias, where the lands 
were enclosed and cultivated. Here, on the third day after arrival, a grand 
council of native chieftains was assembled to listen to and make the speeches 
of such occasions, and transfer their allegiance to the great and good govt of 
the U. S. After which a grand dance. Next day Revere's party travelled 
over the plain parallel to the lake until noon, and then turning to the left, 
climbed the range. They were attacked by Indians, who mistook them for 
foes, and one of whom was badly v/ounded. A difficult trail led them to 
the summit at sunset, and they looked foward into another broad valley and 
back upon the lake. 'Few white men have visited this magnificent Laguna. 
In the course of time it will become famous, and perhaps the "tired den- 
zens" of the Atlantic cities may yet make summer excursions to its glorious 
shores. ' Down into the Russian River Valley they went to tlie rancho of Fer- 
nando F^lix, where they spent the day. On the way to Piua's rancho they 
killed a huge grizzly; and at Fitch's rancho of Sotoyome they found the an« 
nual matanzas in progress. 


had returned from their imprisonment in August. 
On September 25th a meeting of the old Bears was 
held, at which, J. B. Chiles being president and John 
H. Nash secretary, a resolution was adopted 'Hhat 
three persons be appointed to act as a committee to 
investigate and gather all the information in their 
reach in relation to the action of the Bear Flag 
party, and report at a subsequent meeting." Sem- 
ple, Grigsby, and Nash were appointed on the com- 
mittee, though Semple's place was afterward taken 
by Ide; and the resulting report of May 13, 1847, 
has already been noticed in this work.^ 

At Sutter's Fort Kern remained in command; be- 
ing confirmed in his authority by Montgomery on 
August 26th, at which date E. J. Sutter, son of the 
captain, was made Kern's lieutenant at the fort.^ In 
August also the Sonoma prisoners were released, as 
they ought to have been long before. They had ap- 
pealed to Fremont when Sloat's proclamation and the 
United States flag arrived; but not the slightest at- 
tention was paid to their appeal. In July a letter of 
inquiry about them came from Larkin; and Mont- 
gomery interested himself in their behalf ^^ In reply, 
Vallejo wrote to both Larkin and Stockton; but be- 
fore the letters were received, on July 27th, the com- 
modore despatched an order for the release of Vallejo 
and his brother-in-law ; followed in a few days by a 
similar order in behalf of the other captives. All 
were required to sign a parole. Vallejo and Carrillo 
were discharged on or about the 1st of August, the 
former in verv feeble health. The others, Salvador 
Vallejo, Victor Prudon, and Jacob Leese had to re- 

^ Recortl of the meeting in Monterey Californian, Oct, 3, 1846. See chap, 
viii. of this volume; also Hist. Bear Flag lievol. 

* Monterey Californian, Sept. 5, 1840. 

^°July 10th, Larkin to Vallejo, describing his efforts to learn his fate. 
Had sent messengers to Sonoma, and John Murphy had been sent to the Sac. 
— for which service he was to bo paid by V. $100. Bear Flag Papers, MS., 
62. July 17th, Montgomery to Sloat, forwarding Forbes' petition for the re- 
lease of Vicente Peralta, and also mentioning Vallejo, in whose case he was 
personally interested. SloaVn Despatches, 24-5, or 661-8. 


main in prison a week longer, Don Salvador — and 
probably the rest, though Leese claims that his cap- 
tivity lasted until the 13th — being liberated on Au- 
gust 8th by Misroon, the officer sent up by Montgom- 
ery for that purpose. Keturning to their homes, they 
found that cattle, horses, and other personal property 
had for the most part disappeared; but the change of 
government might enrich those of the number who 
were the owners of real estate. ^^ Montgomery sent 

^^ July 29th, Stockton to Vallejo. One of his first acts was to order his 
release; and he has now sent a courier to Montgomery to have the others 
freed, whose names he did not know before. Bear Flag Papers, MS., 67. No 
date, copy of Montgomery's order to release Vallejo and Carrillo. Id., 72. 
Leese, Bear Flag, MS., 16-17, thinks the first order named Vallejo's brother- 
in-law, meaning himself, but applied to Carrillo. July 29th, Larkin to Va- 
llejo. Letters of 23d received this morning. Orders for release sent two 
days ago to Montgomery. Now repeated, and the courier will tell the con- 
versation he had with Stockton. Savage, Doc, MS., iii. 19; Larkin'' s Doc, 
MS. , iv. 234. Aug. 3d, Montgomery to V. , announcing the pleasure it has 
given him to order his release, and introducing Lieut Revere, who has in- 
structions to ' mitigate ' his parole by accepting simply a promise of friend- 
ship to the U. S., or of neutrality. English and Spanish. Bear Flag Papers, 
MS., 70, 73. Aug. 7th, Salv. Vallejo to M. G. Vallejo, in answer to letter of 
Aug. 4th, which announced that a boat was on the way with the order of re- 
lease. The boat has not arrived, and even if it does come there is but little 
hope of freedom; for Kern has said he will not obey any order if the name of 
each prisoner be not specified, and has even hinted that he is not bound to 
obey any orders but those of FriSmont. Id., 76. Aug. 7th, S. Vallejo, Pru- 
don, and Leese, to Vallejo, expressing their opinion that Kern did not intend 
to free them, and asking the colonel to write to Montgomery in their behalf. 
Id., 68. Aug. 6th, Lieut Bartlett to Vallejo, in answer to letter of July 30th. 
With many expressions of friendly feeling, he says: 'I at once laid your note 
before Capb. Montgomery, who at once expressed his deep regret that you 
were yet a prisoner [on the 30th]. He has constantly regretted that you 
were not liberated on the day the American flag first waved over New Hel- 
vetia, which certainly would have been the case had his command extended 
to that post. He has directed me to assure you that among his first commu- 
nications to Com. Sloat he stated the names of all persons that had been ar- 
rested, . . .and requested instructions as to the course he should now pursue 
with regard to them, at the same time making particular mention of your 
case.' Id., 74-5. Aug. 8th, V. to Montgomery, in reply to letter of Aug. 3d. 
Thanks for his efforts; bad state of the writer's health; appeals for the re- 
lease of his companions. Id., 78-80. Aug. 8th, Lieut Misroon takes the pa- 
role of Salvador Vallejo at 'Fort New Helvetia. ' Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 232. 
Aug, 12th, V. to Montgomery. 'Muy enfermo sail del Sacramento y peor 
llegu6 d, mi casa.' Thanks for opportune sending of Dr Henderson. Bear 
Flag Papers, MS., 81. Aug. 17th, Montgomery to V. Sends him documents 
relating to Misroon 's visit to Sonoma in June. Has just returned himself 
from Sonoma. Id., 58. Aug. 24th, Larkin to V. from Los Angeles. Speaks 
of having sent a second courier to New Helvetia before leaving Monterey. 
Sept. 15th, V. to L. Returned from his prison 'half dead,' but is now bet- 
ter. Has lost over 1,000 cattle, 600 tame horses, all his crops, and many 
other things of value; but will go to work again. Larkin' s Doc, MS., iv. 
280-1. Sept. 25th, Montgomery to V. Thanks for his services to the U. S. 


Dr Henderson to Sonoma to treat Vallejo's illness, 
and soon visited the colonel in person. Vallejo also 
came down to San Francisco to be present at Stock- 
ton's reception. 

The alarm of an Indian invasion from the north, to 
which I have alluded, had its origin in an affair of 
the winter of 1844-5. A party of Oregon Indians 
had come down to trade for cattle, being well received 
by Sutter, who had known some of the chiefs in 
Oregon, and permitted to hunt for wild horses, to be 
exchanged for cattle. Among the party were the 
Walla Walla chief Yellow Serpent and his son Elijah. 
The latter, who had been educated by the missionaries, 
was a turbulent and insolent fellow, who killed one 
of his companions near the fort, and was prevented by 
an American from killing another. Among the ani- 
mals taken by the Indians were some claimed as pri- 
vate property; but which they refused to give up. 
Grove Cook on going to demand a mule that bore his 
brand was met by Elijah, who levelled his rifle at him, 
and told him to take the animal if he dared. Sutter 
then summoned the chiefs to his office, and insisted 
that branded animals must be given up to their own- 
ers, though the Indians w^ere entitled to a reward for 
restoring them. They declared that by their customs 
such animals belonged to those who found them. 
While the discussion was going on, Sutter left the 
office; and during his absence, Elijah was shot and 
killed by Cook in a quarrel, in which, according to the 
white witnesses present, the Indian was the aggressor; 
though it would be more reasonable to suppose, in the 
absence of Indian witnesses, and the safety with which 

Vallejo, Doc, MS., xii. 242. Sept. 29th, Id. told. Invites him to Yerba 
Buena to meet Stockton. Id., xii. 236. Oct. 19th, Id. to Id. Cannot accede 
to Vallejo's request that Revere be removed from the command, thougli he 
would do so for the cogent reasons urged had the request come a little soonei-. 
Id., xii. 244. Nov. ICth, Id. to Id. A veiy friendly letter. Regrets that be 
cannot visit Sonoma before his departure. Id., xii. 249. March 28, 1847, V. 
to Bandini on his imprisonment and losses thereby. Bandini, Doc., MS., 104. 
June 14, 1847, V. to Ex-prcsidont Bnstamante on the same topic. Vallejo, 
Doc, MS., xii. 304. 


an Indian might be killed under the circumstances^ 
that Elijah was deliberately murdered by Cook. The 
whole party of about forty then hurried back to 
Oregon with their horses, not waiting to receive the 
cattle due them, and eluding the pursuers despatched 
by Sutter. Their story was told to the missionaries 
and to the Indian agent, White; and these gentlemen 
were ready to credit the version given them without 
investigation. White wrote on the subject to the 
government, to Sutter, and to Larkin.^^ 

Yellow Serpent came back to California at the be- 
ginning of September, 1846, with some forty of his 
people, to trade and to demand justice for the killing 
of his son. Reports had come from Oregon, from the 
missionaries and by the immigrants, that the Walla 
Wallas were bent on vengeance; and great was the 
alarm when a frontier settler came to New Helvetia 
with the news that a thousand warriors were approach- 
ing. The chief and his party had arrived at the cabin 
of the settler, Daniel Sill; and the explanation that 
nine men had been left ill on the way was interpreted 
to mean that 900 warriors were close behind I The 
alarm was sent in all haste to Sonoma and Monterey ; 
and while Stockton came up to San Francisco, every 
possible preparation was made for defence along the 
northern frontier. Revere, leaving the Vallejos with 
a force of Californians and friendly Indians to scour 
the country and protect exposed points, hastened to 
the Sacramento. Soon after his arrival Revere learned 
the true state of affairs, and that there was no danger; 
in fact, the Walla Walla chief came in person to have 
a 'talk,' announcing that he had come to trade and 
not to fight, and urging upon the 'Boston men' who 
now owned the country his claim for justice. Both 

^2 See Hist Or., i. 285-9, this series. July 21 j 1845, Sutter to Larkin, giv- 
ing full particulars of the affair. Larhiii's Doc, MS., iii. 227. May Iftth, 
White to Larkin. Id., iii. 155. White to sec. of war. Monterey Calif ornian, 
Sept. 19, 1846. See also Whitens Concise View, 49; Parrish's Oregon Ante, 
MS., 90; Gray's Hist. Orjn, 507-11; Mission Life Sketches, 205-7. _ Pewpew- 
moxmox, the old chief was called in Oregon; Sutter calls him Piopiopio; and 
the Californians ' ElCojo Macai.' 


soldiers and settlers were anxious for a figlit; certain 
persons tried to keep up the excitement; and many 
were not disposed to believe in the Indians' peaceful 
intentions, but rather to make a raid upon all the sav- 
ages in the valley; but better counsel soon prevailed, 
and the cheering news was sent southward that the 
fear of a Walla Walla invasion was groundless. ^^ 

Some enthusiastic biographers have accorded to 
Major Fremont the glory of having persuaded the 
Walla Wallas to forego their plans of vengeance, and 
thus prevented a disastrous Indian war; but as a mat- 
ter of fact, Fremont did not arrive until the excitement 
had passed away. He did, however, obtain some of 
the savages as recruits for his California battalion. 
Of the major's operations in the Sacramento during 
this visit, at the end of September and beginning of 
October, nothing definite is recorded, except that he 
succeeded in getting many recruits, whose military 
operations of the next few months, with what is known 
of their organization, will be presented in due time. 
The large influx of immigrants by the overland route, 
to be noticed elsewhere, made it easy to find soldiers 
for the battalion at this time. 

Stockton's plans on quitting Los Angeles were, as 
we have seen, to appoint Fremont governor, leave 
detachments of the battalion as garrisons for the dif- 
ferent posts, and to depart with the strength of his 
fleet to engage in naval operations on the Mexican 
coast. He regarded the conquest of California as 
complete. He had no doubt that the people would 
soon become devoted subjects of the United States, 

'3 Stockton's Mil. and Naval Oper., 9; Stockton's Report, 41 ; Revere' s Tour, 
154, etc.; Sept. 10tli-15th, corresp. between Misroon, M. G. Vallejo, and 
Salv. Vallejo, on the military preparations. Vail r jo, i>oc., MS., xii. 234-40. 
Sec also Vallejo, Hint. Cal., MS., v. 203-8; Torres, Peripecias, MS., 77-8; 
Juarez, Narracion, MS.; Tust'ui's Recoil., MS., 9; Honolulu Friend, iv. 158; 
Monterey Californlan, passim; Upham's Life Frdmont, 242-3; Bigelow's Mem. 
Fr6monl, 172-3. The Californians have an idea, not very well founded I think, 
that Salvador Vallejo was the originator of the scare, hoping to run up a 
large bill for horses and other aid, and thus get paid for a part of his past 


and believed that his proposed system of civil rule 
would soon be in successful operation. Arriving at 
Monterey, his plans were somewhat interrupted by 
the Walla Walla alarm, which called him to San 
Francisco; but when he learned that no danger was 
to be apprehended from the Indians, his prospects 
again assumed a roseate hue, and his schemes were 
not only revived, but had been greatly amplified. 
His project was nothing less than to raise a thousand 
men in California, to land them at Mazatlan or Aca- 
pulco, and with them march overland to ''shake hands 
with General Tayl or at the gates of Mexico " ! ^^ Maj or 
Fremont — from this time addressed as militar}^ com- 
mandant of California, the date of his appointment to 
that position being September 2d — was sent to the 
Sacramento to recruit the army which was to conquer 
Mexico. It is not necessary to characterize the com- 
modore's project as a "master-stroke of military sagac- 
ity " with Lancey, or as the mad freak of an enthusiast 
seeking notoriety. Much would have depended on 
the result; and before much progress could be made 
news came that caused the scheme to be abandoned. 
At the end of September, John Brown arrived in all 
haste from Los Angeles with the report that the 
southern Californians had revolted, and that Gilles- 
pie's garrison was hard pressed by the foe. The 
courier, known as Juan Flaco, or Lean John, had 
made the distance from Angeles to San Francisco, 
about 500 miles, in six days, a feat which, variously 

^* Stockto)i's Report, 40. Sept. 19th, Stockton to Mervine — * confidential ' — 
announcing his plan, and that Fremont had been sent to the north for recruits. 
Sept. 28th, S. to Fremont, 'military commandant of the territory of Cal.' 
Anxious to know what his prospects are for * recruiting my thousand men ' — 
'private' — in Stockton's Mil. and Nav. Oper., 14-15. Sept. 30th, S. to Mer- 
vine. Instructions for the movements of the Savannah, which was to sail at 
once. Id.y 12-13. Oct. 1st, S. to Sec. Bancroft. ' I will send the Savannah 
on her cruise to-morrow, and the Portsmouth in a few days; and will follow 
myself in the Congress as soon as I can, to carry out my views in regard to 
Mexico, with which I have not thought it necessary or expedient to acquaint 
the department. Our new govt goes on well. . .If any chance is given, 1 have 
no doubt an effort will be made by the Mexicans to recover the territory; 
troops are ready to come from Mexico, but if they are not seen on the way I'll 
make them fight their first battle at Acapulco, or between that and the city 
of Mexico.' Id., 13-14. 


exaggerated and misrepresented, has made the rider 
more or less famous. ^^ Though Stockton did not 
attach great importance to the reported revolt, it was 
sufficient to distract his attention temporarily from 
his grand schemes of conquest; and he at once ordered 
Mervine to sail for San Pedro, to Gillespie's relief, 
which he did on the Savannah the 8th of October. ^^ 
Fremont was summoned from the Sacramento, and 
arrived at San Francisco on the 12th with 160 men, 
who were embarked on the Sterling. This vessel with 
the Congress sailed next day for the south. Stock- 
ton, meeting the Barnstable with despatches from 
Maddox, touched at Monterey on the 16th, landing a 

^^ Brown's own story, as quoted in Lancey's Cruise, 126-8, from the Stock- 
ton S. Joaquin Republican, 1850, is in substance as follows: With a package 
of cigarettes, the paper of each bearing the inscription, 'Believe the bearer,' 
and Gillespie's seal, he started at 8 p. m., Sept 24th, hotly pursued by 15 
Mexicans. His horse, incited by a bullet through his body, cleared a ravine 
13 feet wide, and fell after running 2 miles ! Then he started on foot, carrj'- 
ing his spurs for 27 miles to Las Virgenes. Here he was joined by Tom 
Lewis, and they reached Sta Bdrbara at 11p.m. of the 25th. At the same 
hour of the 26th, having been furnished horses successively by Lieut Talbot, 
Thos Robbins, and Lewis Burton on showing the magic cigarettes, they 
camped between S. Miguel and S. Luis Obispo, where Lewis gave out; but 
Brown started again next morning, and late at night reached Monterey. He 
was offered $200 to go on to S. F. ; and started at sunrise on a race-horse be- 
longing to Job Dye. Larkin aided him at S. Jos6, where he was detained 4 
hours; and he reached Yerba Buena at 8 p. m. of the 28th — 630 miles in 4 
days! He slept on the beach, and next morning when the commodore's boat 
landed gave Stockton the rest of his cigarettes. Gillespie, in the Sac. States- 
man, May 6, 1858, gives a brief account, agreeing well enough with Brown's, 
except that the horse leaped into instead of across the ravine, breaking a leg, 
whereupon the courier had to carry his saddle 4 miles to a rancho; and that 
he reached Monterey at night of the 28th, slept two hours, and arrived at S. 
F. at sunrise of the 29th I Phelps, Fore and Aft, 311-15, tells us that Stock- 
ton got the news on Oct. 1st, when the courier was picked up drunk and car- 
ried to tlie flag-ship, where the cigarettes were found on him. Colton, Three 
Years, 64-5, notes Brown's arrival on the night of Sept. 29tli, and his start 
before sunrise on the 30th. He had ' a few words over the signature of the 
alcalde rolled in a cigar, which was fastened in his hair. . .He rode the whole 
distance (to Monterey), 460 miles, in 52 hours, during which time he had not 
slept' ! Stockton in his reports says the news was received on or about Sept. 
30th. Taking the authority of Gillespie and Brown for the date of the start, 
and that of Colton and Stockton for that of the arrival, we liave, as stated in 
my text, 6 days for the ride. But Bryant, What I Saio in Cal. , 327, says the 
courier arrived Oct. Ist; and it is to be noticed that Stockton in his order of 
Oct. 1st to Mervine says nothing to indicate that he had received the news. 
The CaVfornian of Oct. 3d says he must have received the news on the morn- 
ing of the 1st. 

^8 Gillespie, in Sac. Statesman, May 6, 1858, claims that Mervine, having 
set sail on or about Oct. Ist, with a fine breeze, stopped at Sauzalito for some 
frivolous thing, and his tlcparturc was delayed for tliree days by a fog. 


force for the protection of the town, and proceeded on 
his way. Frdmont meanwhile met the Vandalia, 
learned that no horses could be obtained at Santa 
Barbara, and turned back to Monterey, where he 
arrived on the 28th, to prepare for a march south- 
ward. He found awaiting him a commission as lieu- 
tenant-colonel in the army of the United States. ^"^ 
His preparations and his expedition will be noticed 
later; it is now time to describe the revolt of the 
abajenos against the authority of their new masters. ^^ 

Gillespie had been left by Stockton as military com- 
mandant of the south, with a garrison of fifty men at 
Los Angeles. His instructions were to maintain mil- 
itary rule in accordance with the commodore's proc- 
lamation; but he was authorized to grant exemption 
from the more burdensome restrictions to quiet and 
well disposed citizens at his discretion; and a lenient 
policy in this respect was recommended. From a 
purely political point of view, Gillespie's task was not 
a difficult one; that is, there was no disposition on the 
part of the Angelinos to revolt against the new regime. 
In other respects, the prospect was less encouraging. 
My readers, familiar with Los Angeles annals, know 
that there was an element in the population of the 
town that was turbulent, lawless, and hitherto uncon- 
trollable. That the new commandant could convert 

^''Monterey Californian, Oct. 31, 1846; Golton's Three Years, 79-82; 
Lancey's Cruise, 132-3. The commission was signed by the president May 
29, 1846. 

18 The following extract from the Calif ornian of Oct. 3d will show how the 
revolt was regarded in the north: * We learn by the last courier that there lias 
been quite a disturbance at the pueblo below. The more sober portion of the 
community, it seems, had no participation in the frantic affair. The principal 
actors in it are a class of hare-brained fellows who wanted a row, cost what it 
might ... As for any prolonged resistance to the existing laws, there is not the 
slightest probability of such a result. Had there been any serious determi- 
nation to resist and maintain an attitude of hostility, it would have showed it- 
self when Gen. Castro was there. . .We do not suppose that any one engaged 
in this affair expects an ultimate triumph; nor do we suppose that he has 
looked seriously into the consequences to himself .. .The ringleaders will be 
apprehended and tried under martial law, and may suffer death; so much for 
an affair that can be of no benefit to any one, and must entail sorrow on many. 
The people of Monterey are wiser. ' 
Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 20 


these fellows into quiet citizens without a struggle was 
not to be expected. Had he been the wisest of rulers, a 
conflict was inevitable; but the character and extent 
and results of the conflict depended largely upon his 
skill and prudence. Gillespie had no special qualifi- 
cations fot- his new position ; and his subordinates were 
still less fitted for their duties. They were disposed 
to look down upon Californians and Mexicans as an 
inferior race, as a cowardly foe that had submitted 
without resistance, as Indians or children to be kept 
in subjection by arbitrary rules. They were moreover 
suspicious, and inclined to interfere needlessly with 
the people's amusements, and with the actions of in- 
dividuals. Little account was taken of national habits 
and peculiarities. In a few weeks many good citizens, 
though not perhaps of the best, who, though content 
with the change of government, had no desire to be 
at once fully Americanized in their methods of life 
by process of law, were prejudiced against Gillespie, 
characterizing his treatment of themselves or of their 
friends in the enforcement of police regulations as op- 
pressive tyranny. Then came some open manifestations 
of lawlessness, to which the commandant was too ready 
to impute a political significance. Arrests were freely 
made; and the people found themselves branded as 
rebels before they had really thought of rebellion. A 
few ambitious Mexican oflficers gladly took advantage 
of the opportunity to foment the excitement; a degree 
of success at first turned the heads of the ignorant 
populace; many were led to believe that their coun- 
try might yet be recovered; and others were either 
blinded by their dislike of the men placed over them, 
or had not the courag-e to resist the popular current. 
The result was an actual revolt; and there can be lit- 
tle doubt that Gillespie and his men were largely 
responsible for this result.^^ 

^•Coronel, Coaas de Cal., MS., 78-80, tells ua that Gillespio from the first 
dictated needlessly oppressive measures; that two persons should not go about 
the streets together; that under no pretext must the people have reunions at 
their homes; that provision-shops must be closed at sundown; that liquor 


Serbulo Varela, a wild and unmanageable young fel- 
low, though not a bad man at heart, whom the reader 
already knows as a leader in several popular tumults 
at Angeles under Mexican rule, soon became involved 
in difficulties with Gillespie, doubtless because he was 
unwilling to submit to police regulations — though 
no details are known. Varela thereupon became a 
kind of outlaw, ranging about the vicinity of the 
town, keeping out of the reach of Gillespie's men, 
but annoying them in every possible way. A dozen 
kindred spirits joined him, irresponsible fellows, but 
each controlling a few followers of the lower class; 

should not be sold without his permission; also deciding petty cases instead 
of leaving them to the jueces de paz, searching houses for weapons, and im- 
prisoning Rico and others on mere suspicion. In short, he so oppressed the 
people that he came to be regarded as a tryant; and after the first troubles 
with Varela, redoubled his persecutions and drove many to join the rebels. 
Francisco Rico, Memorias, MS. , 25-6, says that he was imprisoned for 30 days 
because he could tell nothing of the whereabouts and Intentions of Ramon 
Carrillo. B. D. Wilson, Observations, MS., 66-7, was told by the foreigners 
who came to his rancho ' that Gillespie's conduct had been so despotic and 
unjustifiable that the people had risen. . .He had established very obnoxious 
regulations, and upon frivolous pretexts had the most respectable men in the 
community arrested and brought before him for no other purpose than to hu- 
miliate them, as they thought. Of the truth of this I had no doubt then and 
I have none now. The people had given no just cause for the conduct he 
pursued, which seemed to be altogether the efifect of vanity and want of 
judgment.' Temple, Recollections, MS., 10-11, takes the same view of the 
matter. John Forster, Pioneer Data, MS., 35-7, thinks there would have 
been no difficulty if Gillespie had been less exacting and despotic. Avila, 
Notas, MS., 29, attributes the revolt to the same cause. Larkin, during his 
later imprisonment, was told by the officers that Gillespie's rigid discipline 
and ignorance of Spanish customs and character had forced the people to take 
up arms. Larkin's Off. Corresp., MS., ii. 89. 'The discontent was caused by 
the ill-advised acts of some of the American officers left in charge of the little 
garrisons . . . Gillespie, with an insignificant and undisciplined military force, 
attempted by a coercive system to efifect a moral and social change in the 
habits, diversions, and pastimes of the people, and reduce them to his stand- 
ard of propriety. The result of this injudicious efifort was the rebellion. ' Los 
Angeles Hist, 17. Lieut Wise, Los Gringos, 44-5, attributes the revolt to 
the fact that 'the natives had been confounded and bewildered by speeches 
and proclamations,' etc.; and ' the banding together of a few mongrel bodies 
of volunteers, who enhanced the pleasure of their otherwise agreeable society 
by pillaging the natives of horses, cattle, etc. , in quite a marauding, bucca- 
neering, independent way; all of course under the apparent legal sanction of 
the U. S.' See also Dice. Univ., MS., viii, 157-8; Guerra, Apuntes, 355; Fos- 
ter's Los Angeles iji 1847, etc., 42-3. Lancey, Cruise, 124, tells us that Pio 
Pico and Josd M. Flores, 'these treacherous enemies of the U. S., . . .secretly 
collected together the remnant of their former army, and resolved upon 
another efifort to expel the Americans,' took advantage of Stockton's absence, 
and suddenly appeared before Los Angeles with 500 men. This, in substance, 
may be called the current version, except in respect to Pico's name. 


and these men soon began to dream of raising a force 
to attack the garrison, and repeat some of their ex- 
ploits of earlier years.^^ It is even said that one of 
the number, Manuel Cantua, was for a time jocosely 
termed by his companions, governor of California! 
Several of the ringleaders were Sonorans, and others 
Mexicans. Gillespie, choosing to regard the opera- 
tions of these marauders as a treacherous rebellion of 
the Californians, greatly aided their cause by his op- 
pressive and arbitrary measures. Many citizens fled 
to the rarichos to await further developments, having 
no sympathy for the comandante, even if they had 
not much for Varela. 

About the middle of September a detachment of 
the garrison had been sent to San Diego under Eze- 
kiel Merritt; and before daylight on the 23d Varela, 
with perhaps twenty companions, made a sudden at- 
tack on the adobe building in which the rest were 
posted. The Californians had no intention of fighting, 
but by the suddenness of the assault, by discharging 
a few muskets, and by shouts and beating of drums, 
they hoped perhaps to surprise and capture the post, 
as they had been wont to do in earlier days, or at 
least to impress both the garrison and the citizens 
with the idea that their movement was a formidable 
one. But Gillespie's men, whatever their faults, were 
not to be defeated b}" noise, and a volley of rifle-balls 
followed the fleeing assailants, one of whom was 

'"The earliest definite record of these operations is ou Sept. 6th, when 
Bonifacio Olivares wrote to Salvador Vallejo: ' Your friend Cantua and I 
have thought of giving rentazos to the sailors who took Los Angeles. Capt. 
Noriega and Flores are coming; if you also come, we will all vote for you to 
command and punish the sailors. We have lances and reatas here. ' ' P. S. All 
that my compadre says is true, and I, who command more than he, also say 
it, at the request of M. Cantua, Dionisio Reyes.' Original in Larkin's Doc, 
MS., iv. 274. Sept. loth, Gillespie writes Fitch: 'Election for alcalde going 
on, but only 20 voters have appeared. The party of Sonorefios who are dis- 
posed to disturb the peace proves to be quite small. I know the names of 
the ringleaders, who will not long be at liberty.' Fitch, Doc, MS., 402. The 
original rebels included S6rbulo Varela, Hilario Varela, Manuel Cantua, Pedro 
Iloniero, J. B. Moreno, Ramon Carrillo, Pablo V6jar, Nicolas Hermosillo, 
Leonardo Higuera, Gregorio Atensio, Bonifacio Olivares, Dionisio Reyes, 
Urita Vald<?8, etc. 


wounded in the foot.^^ After daylight Lieutenant 
Hensley was sent out to make a raid about the suburbs 
of the town. The assailants of the night kept out of 
his way, as did most residents, though a few were ar- 
rested at their homes; but this raid, together with 
Varela's demonstration, had the effect contemplated 
by the latter, to transform his movement into a gen- 
eral revolt. The Californians with few exceptions 
were persuaded that war had broken out anew, and 
that patriotism required them to take sides against 
the foreign invaders. Varela's force was speedily in- 
creased to nearly 300 men, divided in bands of which 
his original associates styled themselves captains. But 
the chief places were now assumed by Castro's old 
officers. It is not impossible that some of them may 
have had an understanding with Varela and the others 
from the first ; but there is no proof that such was the 
case. Most of these officers were under parole not 
to serve against the Americans; and by their act, ac- 
cording to military law, they disgraced themselves 
and forfeited their lives; yet they justified their con- 
duct on the plea that Gillespie by his persecution had 
virtually renewed hostilities and released them from 
their parole. Captain Jose Maria Flores, one of the 
paroled officers, and one who had narrowly escaped 
arrest, was chosen to act as comandante general ; Jos6 
Antonio Carrillo was made second in command, resum- 
ing his old rank of mayor general; while Captain An- 
dres Pico, as comandante de escuadron, took the third 

2* Gillespie says: 'On the 22d at 3 o'clock in the morning a party of 65 
Californians and SonoreSos made an attack upon my small command quartered 
in the government house. We were not wholly unprepared; and with 21 
rifles we beat them back without loss to ourselves, killing and wounding three 
of their number. When daylight came Lieut Hensley with a few men took 
several prisoners, and drove the Californians from the town. This party was 
merely the nucleus of a revolution commenced and known to Col. Fremont 
before he left Los Angeles. In 24 hours 600 well mounted horsemen, and 
(armed?) with escopetas, lances, and one fine brass piece of light artillery, sur- 
rounded Los Angeles and summoned me to surrender. There were three old 
honey-combed iron guns (spiked) in the corral of my quarters, which we at 
once cleared and mounted upon the axles of carts,' etc. Sac. Statesman, May 
6, 1858. It is very improbable, to say the least, that no gun in working order 
had been left for Gillespie by Stockton. 


place. It is not to be supposed that the leaders had 
any confidence in their ability to defeat the Ameri- 
cans; but they thought the fate of California would 
be decided by national treaty, and if it remained a 
Mexican territory, their efforts would give them glory, 
and influence in the future. In any event, temporary 
prominence and power could be secured, and if the 
worst came, they could retreat to Sonora. 

The main camp of the rebels, where the final organ- 
ization was effected, was at the place called Paredon 
Blanco, just outside the town. On September 24th 
was issued a proclamation, or plan, which I give be- 
low.^'^ It was a document of the stereotyped order, 

22 Pronunciamiento de Varela y otros Califormos contra los Americanos, 24 
de Set. 1846, MS.; English translation in Soule's Annals, 113-14; Stockton's 
Mil. and Naval Operations, 15-16 — the latter, followed by other authorities, 
dating it Oct. 1st, from a certified copy issued hy Flores on that date. 

'Citizens: For a month and a half, by a lamentable fatality resulting from 
the cowardice and incompetence of the department's chief authorities, we see 
ourselves subjugated and oppressed by an insignificant force of adventurers 
from the U. S. of N. America, who, putting us in a condition worse than that 
of slaves, are dictating to us despotic and arbitrary laws, by which, loading 
us with contributions and onerous taxes, they wish to destroy our industries 
and agriculture, and to compel us to abandon our property, to be taken and 
divided among themselves. And shall we be capable of permitting ourselves 
to be subjugated, and to accept in silence the heavy chain of slavery? Shall 
we lose the soil inherited from our fathers, which cost them so much blood? 
Shall we leave our families victims of the most barbarous servitude? Shall 
we wait to see our wives violated, our innocent children beaten by the Amer- 
ican whip, our property sacked, our temples profaned, to drag out a life full 
of shame and disgrace? No! A thousand times no! Compatriots, death 
rather than that ! Who of you does not feel his heart beat and his blood 
boil on contemplating our situation? Who will be the Mexican that will not 
be indignant, and rise in arms to destroy our oppressors? We believe there 
will be not one so vile and cowardly. Therefore, the majority of the inhab- 
itants of this district, justly indignant at our tyrants, we raise the cry of war, 
and with arms in our hands, we swear with one accord to support the follow- 
ing articles: 1. We, all the inhabitants of the department of Cal., as members 
of the great Mexican nation, declare that it is and has been our wish to be- 
long to her alone, free and independent. 2. Therefore the intrusive author- 
ities appointed by the invading forces of the U. S. are held as null and void. 
.3. All North Americans being foes of Mexico, we swear not to lay down our 
arms until we see them ejected from Mexican soil. 4. Every Mexican citi- 
zen from 15 to 60 years of age who does not take up arms to carry out this 
plan is declared a traitor, under penalty of death. 5. Every Mexican or 
foreigner who may directly or indirectly aid the foes of Mexico will be pun- 
ished in the same manner. 6. All property of resident North Americans 
w ho may have directly or indirectly taken part m ith or aided the enemies of 
Mexico will bo confiscated and used for the expenses of the war, and their 
persons will be sent to the interior of the republic. 7. All who may oppose 
the present plan will be punished with arms [put to death]. 8. All inhab- 
itants of Sta Barbara antf the northern district will be immediately invited 


containing a recital of wrongs in which a meagre sub- 
stratum of fact was eked out with much that was im- 
aginary; a florid appeal to Mexican patriotism; a 
threat of vengeance on the oppressors and punish- 
ment to all who 'might either give aid to the foe or 
fail to support the cause of freedom. It was signed 
by Varela and more than 300 others; possibly not 
receiving the signature of General Flores until a day 
or two later. Meanwhile the garrison was summoned 
to surrender, and the town was surrounded, and in a 
sense besieged by the Californians. It does not 
clearly appear that there was any fighting, though 
some say that Gillespie's men made several sorties, 
the well mounted natives keeping beyond the reach 
of rifle-bullets, and confining their eflbrts to stamped- 
ing the horses, cutting ofl* supplies, completing their 
own preparations, and annoying the Americans as 
much as possible.^^ On the 24th, as we have seen, 
Juan Flaco started with the news of Gillespie's posi- 
tion for Monterey and San Francisco. 

The first 'battle' of this rebellion — or the second if 
we count Varela's demonstration against Gillespie — 

to acbede to this plan. Camp near Los Angeles, Sept. 24, 1846. S^rbulo 
Varela [written Barelas], Leonardo Cota [and over 300 others]. ' 

^^ On the events of these and the following days much information is de- 
rived from the following works: Coronel, Cosas cle CaL, MS., 80-107; Lugo, 
Vida, MS., 32-67; Bico, Mem., MS., 25-35; Botello, Anales, MS., 142-54; 
Wilson's Observ., MS., 66-91; Forster's Pioneer Data, MS., 35-43; Vejar, 
Becuerdos, MS., 44-64; Moreno, Vida, MS., 13-23, 35; White's CaL, MS., 27- 
35; Garcia, Episodios, MS., 8-18; Castro, Servicios, MS.; Palomares, Mem., 
MS., 58-76; Janssens, Vida, MS., 189-93; Streeter's Becoll., MS., 63-75. 
Manuel Castro to Pio Pico, in Doc. Hist. CaL, MS., iii. 292; Foster's Angeles 
in '47, MS., 21-^5; Arnaz, Becuerdos, MS., 55-7, 94-5; Ord, Ocurrencias, 
MS., 184-5; Vega, Vida, MS., 50-7; Los Angeles Crdnica, May 23-6, 1877; 
Hayes' Scraps, Gal. Notes, iii. 35; Davis' Glimpses, MS., 351-4; Osio, Hist. 
CaL, MS., 480-5. Most of the writers cited were actors in the events de- 
scribed. Their testimony shows no important discrepancies, except in mi- 
nute personal details, which cannot be presented in the space at my com- 
mand. See Mexican accounts in Diccionario Universal, viii. 157-9; Guerra, ■ 
Apuntes, 355-61; and especially Bustamante, Mem-. Hist. Mex., MS., v. 218, 
242-3; vi. 41-4. At first Don Cdrlos Maria took great comfort from the 
news that the Anglo-American garrison of 250 men had been killed d palos 
in a revolt of the town! 'Leccion terrible para los opresores, y que les bajard 
un tanto su orgullo ' ! But his later news, though always exaggerated, was 
much more accurate. Printed accounts by American writers, as a rule, barely 
mention the revolt, reserving details so long as reverses continued. 


was fought at the Chino rancho of Isaac Wilhams, 
about twenty-five miles east of Los Angeles, on Sep- 
tember 26th— 27th. Benito Wilson had been put by 
Stockton in command of some twenty foreigners to 
protect the San Bernardino frontier, both against the 
Indians and against hostile parties that Castro might 
send from Sonora, if he had crossed the Colorado at 
all, which w^as at first doubted. Wilson went to his 
own rancho of Jurupa, whence he visited the different 
rancherias of Indians, satisfied himself that Castro 
had really departed, and made a hunting tour. On 
his return to Jurupa he was met by David Alexander 
and John Bowland, who brought news of the rising 
in town, and also an invitation for the company to go 
to Chino. This invitation was accepted the more 
readily because they had used up nearly all their 
ammunition in hunting; but on reaching Chino, con- 
trary to their expectations, they found that Williams 
had no powder.' By some it was thought best to 
leave the rancho for the mountains, whence an at- 
tempt might be made to join the garrison in town; 
but most declared that their ammunition was suf- 
ficient for the few shots needed to defeat a Californian 
foe, and it was .decided to withstand a siege. That 
same afternoon the Californians approached ; and Isaac 
Callaghan, who was sent out to reconnoitre, came back 
with a bullet in his arm.^* 

Serbulo Varela, Diego Sepiilveda, and Ramon Car- 
rillo had been despatched from the Paredon Blanco 
with fifty men or more against Wilson. Jos^ del 
CdrmenLugo, already in command of fifteen or twen- 
ty men on the San Bernardino frontier, with instruc- 

2* Wilson's Observations, MS., is the most detailed and complete narra- 
tion of the whole afiFair, supported in most respects by other authorities. 
Such support is, however, for the most part wanting to Wilson's charge that 
Williams was a traitor; that he enticed them to Chino by the statement 
that he had plenty of ammunition; that, while pretending to send a message 
from Wilson to Gillespie, he directed the courier, F^lix Gallardo, to deliver 
it to Flores ; and in fact, that all his efforts were directed to gaining Flores' 
good-will by the sacrifice of his countrymen. Michael White, CaL, MS., 27, 
etc., gives a similar version. Some others state that Williams took no part 
in the fif^ht, acting in a cowardly manner. 


tions to watch the foreigners, also marched to Chino. 
Lugo claims to have arrived first, and to have been 
joined by Varela late in the night, which was proba- 
bly true."^^ The Americans were summoned to sur- 
render, and perhaps a few shots were exchanged that 
■evening, the 26th, though witnesses do not agree on 
that point. There was but little ammunition on 
either side; and the Californians lacked weapons also. 
The rancho house was of adobe, surrounding a large 
interior court-yard, having but few windows or other 
openings in the thick walls, and roofed with asphal- 
tum. The whole was nearly enclosed with a ditch 
and adobe fence. About dawn on the 27th, the Cali- 
fornians, many of them on horseback, made a rush for 
the house, the movement being accompanied and fol- 
lowed by a discharge of fire-arms on both sides. Sev- 
eral horses fell in leaping the ditch or fence, throwing 
their riders, two or three of whom were wounded, and 
one, Carlos Ballesteros, killed by a rifle-ball. Inside 
the house three were wounded, Perdue, Skene, and 
Harbin, the two first-named somewhat seriously. ^^ 
There was time but for few shots, for the assailants 
reached a position close under the walls of the build- 
ing, where they could not be seen. Their next step 
was to fire the roof. The owner of the rancho pre- 
sented himself with his small children, whose uncles, 
the Lugos, were among the assailants, and begged 
that their lives might be spared. Varela appeared at 
the main entrance, and called upon the Americans to 
surrender, promising them protection as prisoners of 
war. The terms were accepted; Wilson's men gave 

"^^ Lugo, Vidade un Ranchero, MS., 34, etc. Wilson and Coronel confirm 
Lugo's statement to a certain extent. Francisco Palomares, Memorias, MS., 
58, etc., claims to have been second in command. Rico states, and some 
others imply, that Ramon Carrillo was the leader, 

2* Stephen C. Foster, Angeles '4'^-9, MS., 25, etc., gives many particulars 
of the fight, and the actions of particular individuals, obtained from men who 
took part in the afiair, six months later. He describes the firing to have been 
done chiefly after the Californians had reached the house, they creeping along 
the walls, and exchanging shots at close range through the port-holes. 
Skene was wounded by a young Lugo, whose father later cared for the 
wounded man. 


themselves up;^*^ Varela's force set to work to extin- 
guish the fire and secure the plunder; and soon all 
were on the road to Los Angeles. Sepiilveda and 
his men in the advance party, and in charge of most 
of the prisoners, proposed to shoot the latter in re- 
venge for the death of Ballesteros; but Varela inter- 
posed his authority, and by the utmost efforts saved 
their lives. They were turned over to Flores, and 
eight or ten of the most prominent at least were kept 
in captivity until January 1847. The rest were 
probably exchanged for those whom Gillespie had 
arrested, though there is no agreement in the testi- 
mony on this point. ^^ 

Gillespie and his men were now posted on Fort Hill, 
where some guns were mounted. Whether he also 
still held possession of the old barracks is not clear. 
His position was becoming critical. The Californians, 
though poorly provided with arms and ammunition, 
had plenty of food and horses, were flushed with their 

^^ The members of this party so far as known were B. D. Wilson, Isaac 
Williams, David W. Alexander, John Rowland, Louis Robidoux, Joseph 
Perdue, Wm Skene, Isaac Callaghan, Evan Callaghan, Michael White, Matt. 
Harbin, George Walters. Also named on doubtful authority, Dotson, Godey, 

2^ Michael White is positive that it was Carrillo and not Varela who pre- 
vented their being killed. Lugo claims to have been chief in command 
throughout the afifair, and to have had charge later of those prisoners who had 
not been exchanged. V^jar names Ger6nimo Ibarra as one of the wounded. 
He also claims to have had much to do himself with saving the prisoners* 
lives. Several state that the prisoners were exchanged. Coronel thinks 
that some of them were released on parole. Foster says much of A. M. Lu- 
go's attentions to the wounded, and of his offer to go bail for all. According 
to Wilson, they were kept at the camp, at Boyle's Height, in a small adobe 
house, until Gillespie's departure; then taken into town, where the wounded 
were treated by Dr Den; and all received much aid and attention from 
Eulogio C6lis, while Stearns and other Americans did not make their appear- 
ance. Flores offered to release them on a solemn promise not to bear arms 
or use their influence in favor of the U. S. , which they declined. Then a plan 
was formed to send them to Mexico, which was prevented by a revolt, of 
which more anon. They were sent to S. Gabriel for a few days, being prac- 
tically free, but were brought back to prison. Later they were sent tor a 
time to Temple's rancho of Los Cerritos. This was while Stockton was at 
S. Pedro. Then they returned to their town prison, but were kindly treated, 
until Stockton's second entry into Angeles. Willard Buzzell, in a newspaper 
account found in Ilayeji' Scraps, Cal. Notes, iii. 35, says that 13 of Gillespie's 
prisoners were exchanged for a like number of the Chino men. Buzzell was 
with Gillespie, but his narrative is in some respects very inaccurate. 


victory at Chino, were bitter against Gillespie on old 
scores, besides having the death of Ballesteros — a 
young man who was liked and respected by all — to 
avenge, and outnumbered the Americans ten to one. 
Even if Juan Flaco had succeeded in his mission, 
which could not be known, it would be long before re- 
lief could be expected. Meanwhile Flores renewed 
his demands for a surrender; and finally offered to 
permit the garrison to march unmolested to San Pe- 
dro, if they would abandon their post in the city. 
Wilson, at Flores' request, made known the proposal 
to Gillespie, and with it sent his own advice in favor 
of its being accepted, on the ground that the post 
could not be held, that there was great danger of all 
losing their lives in the impending attack, and that 
by holding out, no good, but rather harm, would result 
to American residents of the south. Gillespie accept- 
ed the offer ; marched out with all the honors of war, 
his colors flying and drums beating; arrived at San 
Pedro without molestation ; and four or five days later 
embarked on the merchant ship Vandalia, which, 
however, did not at once leave the port. He was ac- 
companied by a few American citizens, and also prob- 
ably by a dozen of the Chino prisoners, for whom he 
had exchanged a like number of Californians under 
arrest. The capitulation was in the last days of Sep- 
tember, and the embarkation the 4th of October.^® 
There is a general agreement that Gillespie promised 
to deliver his field-pieces at San Pedro, but broke his 
promise by leaving them on shore spiked and useless. 
The terms of the capitulation, however, if they were 
put in writing at all, are not extant.^^ 

25 Gillespie says he marched to S. Pedro on Sept. 29th; Wilson thinks it 
was on the 28th; and several Californians make it the 30th. I find no docu- 
ment to settle it. 

'<• In addition to the Californians, Bidwell, Buzzell, and other Americana 
confirm the spiking of the guns. Gillespie himself implies that by the treaty 
he was to remain on shore at S. Pedro; but says that, 'Flores having broken 
the treaty by stopping my supply of water, I safely embarked my party on 
board the Vandalia, which I had detained to cover my retreat.' It is un- 
likely that Flores permitted the Americans to remain at S. Pedro. Possibly 


The garrison of Los Angeles being thus disposed 
of, there remained tlie posts of Santa Bdrbara and 
San Diego to be reoceupied by the CaUfornians. 
Manuel Garfias was despatched to Santa Bdrbara 
with a small force, to be increased by enlistments in 
that region. It was not doubted that Talbot and his 
nine men^^ would be willing to depart on the same 
terms as Gillespie; but Garfias carried a demand for 
surrender on parole. He sent the demand on ar- 
rival, the messenger being accompanied by a small 
guard, and two hours were allowed for decision. The 
date is not exactly known, perhaps the 1st or 2d of 
October,^^ and it was nearly dark. Residents of the 
place had w^arned the garrison in advance, and now 
advised a surrender; but Talbot and his men decided 
to run away, and thus avoid the necessity of a parole. 
They started at once, met with no opposition from 
the guard,^^ and gained the mountains. They were 
experienced mountaineers, though few were over 
twenty years of age. They remained a week in sight 
of the town, thinking that a man-of-war might appear 
to retake the post. Their presence was revealed to 

Gillespie had agreed to embark at once, but delaying on one pretext or 
another, had his water supply cut oif to hasten his movements, seizing upon 
this act as an excuse for spiking the guns. Rico claims to have been sent to 
S. Pedro with a message to Gillespie that if he did not embark at once as he 
liad promised he would be attacked. 

'^ They were Theodore Talbot, Thomas E. Brecken ridge, Eugene Russell, 
Charles Scriver, John Stevens, Joseph Moulton, Francis Briggs, Durand, 
William, a Chinook Indian, and Manuel, a New Mexican. Testimony of 
Russell and Breckenridge in FrdmonCs C(d. Claims, 52-4. 

^■^ Russell and Breckenridge speak of having been 34 days on the journey 
from Sta Bdrbara to Monterey. This would make the date of starting Sept. 
27th or Oct. 4th, according as we include or not the 8 days spent at the 
mountain camp in sight of Sta Barbara. 

'^ Phelps, Fore and Aft, 313-14, tells how they marched out, one of their 
number sick. They formed in line, their backs against the wall, and told 
the foe they were ready, daring them to advance, calling them cowards, 
* laughing them to scorn, ' etc. Finding they would not fight, Talbot marched 
oflf in a hollow square, followed by the 'cabaleros,' who reviled the brave 
squad but dared not attack them! All this is purely imaginary. A letter of 
Nov. 15th to the Boston Traveller, reprinted in Niles' Reg., Ixxii. 81, gives 
an account similar to that of Phelps. Evidently some of Talbot's men on 
arrival at Monterey indulged in the trappers' propensity for story- telling. 
Streeter, Recoil. , MS. , 55-{)3, says that all the men but one, Russell, favored 
surrender at first; but as he declared his purpose to escape, the rest concluded 
to go with him. 


Californians by their attempts to obtain cattle and 
sheep at night; and then some efforts were made to 
hasten their movements. A party sent out for this 
purpose once came so near the American camp that a 
horse was killed by a rifle-ball; American residents, 
apparently Robbins and Hill, were sent with new 
demands for surrender; and finally, just after Talbot's 
men had left their camp, fire was set to the mountain 
chaparral, with a view to drive them out. They 
crossed the mountains, receiving aid and guidance 
from a Spanish ranchero, reached the Tulares, and 
proceeded to Monterey, where they arrived November 
8th, having suffered many hardships on the long jour- 
ney.^* After Talbot's flight, American residents of 
the Santa Barbara region were arrested, most being 
paroled, and a few apparently sent to Los Angeles 
as prisoners. A small garrison was left at the town, 
and another at San Buenaventura; all under the 
command of Lieutenant-colonel Gumesindo Flores; 
while 40 or 50 men were recruited for Flores' army.^'' 
At San Diego, as we have seen, no garrison had 
been left at first; but about September 15th, at the 
request of Fitch, who reported symptoms of disorder, 
Ezekiel Merritt was sent with a dozen men by Gilles- 
pie to protect the place.^^ Immediately after Gil- 
lespie's retreat, and at the same time that Garfias was 
sent to Santa Barbara, Francisco Rico marched for 
San Diego with fifty men. At his approach Bidwell 

^* Arrival at Monterey noted in Monterey Califoi-nian, Nov. 14th. Lan- 
cey. Cruise, 130-1, quotes Talbot, source not mentioned: 'I suffered more 
from downright starvation, cold, nakedness, and every sort of privation, 
than in any other trip I have yet made, and I have had some rough ones. ' 
Most of the authorities I have cited on the Flores revolt also mention briefly 
Talbot's retreat. 

^5 Nidever, Life and Adven., MS., 116-27, and Dittmann, Narrative, 
MS., 37-9, arrived at Sta Barbara with Wm Fife from a hunting tour just 
after Talbot's departure. They were arrested, but Fife and Dittmann, not 
being Americans, were released. Nidever was sent to Angeles, but ran 
away and kept hid until Fremont came south. He gives many details of 
his ijersonal adventures in the mean time, all strictly true, as it is to be hoped. 

^°Sept. 13th, Gillespie to Fitch, who was to furnish provisions. Fitch, Doc.y 
MS., 400. Sept. 15th, Id. to Id., and Bidwell to Fitch. Id., 401-2. Mer- 
ritt's party was expected on the IGth. 


left San Luis Rey and joined Merritt's party. They 
were also joined by a few native citizens, and all went 
on board the Sto?iington, a whaler lying at anchor in 
the bay, taking with them some cannon dug up at 
the old fort. Rico, however, did not reach San Di- 
ego, being recalled in great haste from Santa Marga- 
rita; but it appears that a few mounted Californians 
of the district appeared on the hills from time to time, 
with sufficient demonstrations of hostility to keep the 
Americans on board their vessel for about twenty 

Nearly all the male inhabitants of southern Cali- 
fornia were now, in a certain sense, engaged as sol- 
diers in the revolt; but less than 200 were kept 
actually in service, the rest being warned to hold 
themselves in readiness for the time of need. In fact, 
200 men, or half that number, were more than could 
be armed and equipped. The country was ransacked 
for old muskets, pistols, and lances, with indiflPerent 
success. An old four-pounder, that had formerly 
served on festive occasions for the firing of salutes, 
was dug up from the garden of Inocencia Reyes, 
where it had been buried on Stockton's first ap- 
proach; and this was mounted on a pair of wagon- 
wheels by an English carpenter. Powder was still 
more scarce than weapons; only enough for a few 
charges of the pedrero could be procured; and to sup- 
ply the want a quantity of very inferior quality was 
manufactured at San Gabriel. News soon came that 
the Americans had landed at San Pedro; and Jose 
Antonio Carrillo was despatched in haste with fifty 
horsemen to reconnoitre and harass the foe; while 
Flores was to follow with the gun. Captain Mer- 
vine, having left San Francisco on the Savannah Oc- 
tober 4th, reached San Pedro on the 6th, and imme- 
diately landed about 350 men, who were joined by 

^' Eico, Memorlas, MS., 30; BidweWa Cal. in I84I-8, MS., 183-90; Dice. 
Univ., viii. 158. 


Gillespie's men from the Vandalia. On the 7th they 
began their march to Los Angeles. They took no 
cannon from the ship; and they could find no horses; 
but they remembered Stockton's former inarch, and 
had no doubt the Californians would run at their ap- 
proach. In the afternoon they began to see mounted 
men of Carrillo's advance guard, with whom a few 
shots were exchanged, one of the Californians being 
slightly wounded. At night the Americans occupied 
the buildings of the Dominguez rancho; and before 
midnight Plores joined Carrillo with sixty men, bring- 
ing also the field-piece. There was more or less firing 
during the night, with no other effect than that of 
keeping Mervine's party on the alert. Early the next 
morning, October 8th, Flores retired with twenty men, 
leaving orders to risk no general engagement, but to 
harass and delay the foe as much as possible. Soon 
the Americans advanced, the marines and seamen 
forming a solid square in the centre, while Gillespie's 
party acted as skirmishers on the right and left. Car- 
rillo also divided his force into three bodies, about 
forty on each flank, and ten with the gun in the cen- 
tre. When Mervine came near, the gun was fired by 
Ignacio Aguilar, and was immediately dragged away 
by reatas attached to the horsemen's saddles, to be re- 
loaded at a safe distance. This operation was re- 
peated some half a dozen times in less than an hour. 
The first discharges did no harm, since the home-made 
powder was used; but at last the gun was properly 
loaded, and the solid column affording an excellent 
target, each shot was effective. Six were killed and 
as many wounded, if indeed the loss of the Ameri- 
cans was not still greater. ^^ No one was hurt on the 

^^ * Four killed and several wounded, ' or ' several men killed and wounded, ' 
is all that Stockton says. Report, 42 ; Mil. and Nav. Op. , 10. No official 
report by Mervine is extant, so far as I know. Six killed and 6 wounded 
is the statement in Cutts^ Conq., 127-8, and most often repeated. Gillespie, 
Sacramento Statesman, May G, 1858, says that Mervine lost 13. Several Cal- 
ifornians state that 12 or 13 were killed, basing their statement on the ac- 
count of the man employed to move the remains. Carrillo, in his official re- 
port, gave 7 as the number of slain. Flores, in his report, says they were 12. 
Phelps says 7 or 8. 


Californian side. The sailors advanced bravely, but 
in this peculiar warfare bravery was of no avail. 
Mervine soon perceived that the pursuit of flying 
artillery and cavalry by marines on foot could only 
result in useless slaughter ; he had no means of know- 
ing, what was indeed true, that the enemy had burned 
all their effective powder, and could no longer oppose 
his advance ; and he accordingly retreated to San Pedro 
and reembarked. The dead and wounded were carried 
by their companions; and the former were buried on 
the little island before and since known as Isla de los 
Muertos. The Californians claim that Mervine left be- 
hind him a quantity of useful articles, including a flag.^* 

During the rest of October a large part of the Cal- 
ifornian army, or about one hundred men, was kept 
between Angeles and San Pedro, the chief encamp- 
ment being at Temple's ranclio of Los Cerritos, and a 
small detachment being stationed at Sepdlveda's 
rancho of Palos Verdes, near the anchorage. The 
men had nothing to do but to watch the Savannah; 
and the leaders were able to devote their attention to 
perfecting the machinery of their new government, 
and to the more difficult task of obtaining resources 
for future warfare. Archives of the Flores regime 
have for the most part disappeared; but enough re- 
main in my collection from private sources to show 
the purport of the general's measures.'*^ The plan 

^^Carrillo, Accion de San Pedro contra los Americanos, 8 de Oct. I846, 
MS. The original official report, dated at S. Pedro Oct. 8th ; also printed in 
El Sonorense, Jan. 8, 1847. Flores' congratulatory proclamation announcing 
the victory is in Janssens, Doc, MS., 19-20. There is a general agreement 
among the different authorities on the general features of this battle, though 
there is naturally much exaggeration of the forces engaged on the opposite 
side, especially by American writers. A newspaper item relates that Mer- 
vine, before starting on his march, made a speech to his men, alluding, among 
other things, to the grapes tliey would find at Los Angeles. This remark was 
afterward connected by the men with the 'grape' fired from the cannon; and 
' Capt. Mervinc's grapes, vintage of 1846,' became a current joke. 

*° Agustin Ja^issens was justice of the peace at Sta In6s, and was made a 
kind of military commandant in that region; and among his papers are found 
many of Flores' orders not elsewhere extant. Oct. 9th, Flores' general in- 
structions for Sta In^s district. Keep the largest possible force in arms, with 
spies on the Monterey road to look out for Fr(5mont, and also toward Sta, 


was to wage a guerrilla warfare, and thus prevent the 
naval forces from penetrating again into the interior, 
leaving the ownership of California to be settled be- 
tween the national governments. Manuel Castro was 
sent as commander-in-chief of operations in the north, 
with Rico as his second in command, and San Luis 
Obispo as his headquarters. His achievements will 
be noticed later. 

The departmental assembly was reorganized Octo- 
ber 26th, being summoned by Flores to resume the 
functions interrupted by the temporary occupation of 
the capital by the forces of the United States. The 
members present were Figueroa, Botello, Guerra, 
and Olvera; Joaquin Carrillo, a vocal suplente, was 
sworn in and took his seat. Figueroa acted as presi- 
dent, and Olvera was made secretar}^ The presi- 
dent in an introductory discourse congratulated the 
country on the success that was attending the Cali- 

Bdrbara in case of a landing there. Keep up communication with Sta Bar- 
bara and San Luis Obispo; aid them, and cut off supplies from the foe in case 
of attack. If the enemy advances on Angeles, harass them with guerrillas 
in the rear. Scrutinize the passes of all travellers, and arrest all suspicious 
persons, sending foreigners to headquarters. If attacked by superior forces, 
fall back on Angeles. Janssens, Doc, MS., 17-19. Oct. 12th, Gumesindo 
Flores' comandante from S. Luis to S. Buenaventura, the 8th company, is 
glad Janssens is serving with such zeal. The people are immortalizing them- 
selves. The foreigners here (Sta Barbara) are rendering good service. John- 
son has offered his guns, which go to the pueblo to-day. Make a list of per- 
sons who will not aid. Keep a copy of the instructions, and send the original 
to Monterey. Id., 21-3. Oct. 17th, Flores' general order. One of the best 
methods of harming the foe being to deprive him of supplies; any one aiding 
the enemy in any way will be punished as an enemy; rancheros must at once 
remove their live-stock from the coast beyond the reach of the naval forces; 
whoever refuses is a traitor. Id., 23-5. Oct. 18th, Capt. J. J. Pico at San 
Luis Obispo orders Miguel Avila to deliver certain property, left with him by 
Dana and Howard, to Jos6 Garcia and his men. Avila, Doc, MS., 21-2. 
Oct. 20th, Gumesindo Flores to Janssens. A private letter, with miscellaneous 
gossip about public affairs. All quiet at S. Pedro; a force gone to S. Diego; 
Fremont's men leaving him because they are not paid; 'Vallejo said to be a 
general of the Americanos'! Janssens, Doc, MS., 26-7. Oct. 23d, Gen. 
Flores appoints Manuel Castro comandante of brigade for operations in the 
north, with Francisco Rico as second in command. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 147. 
Oct. 25th, Janssens' circular calling for contributions for defence, since 10 
Americans are said to be seducing the Indians in the Tulares to attack the 
rancheros. Eleven names of contributors, including Wm G. Dana. Id., 28-9. 
Oct. 26th, Flores decrees any person deserting or leaving military service, or 
found one league from camp without permit, to be court-martialled and put 
to death; every traveller without a passport to be arrested. Id., 30-1; Doc, 
Hist. Cal, MS., iii. 265. 

Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 21 


fornian cause, and recommended the choice of a gov- 
ernor and general to fill the places made vacant by 
the flight of Pico and Castro. It was decided to 
unite the two commands in one person; and Jose 
Maria Flores, already acting as commander-in-chief, 
was elected to hold both offices ad interim, until suc- 
cessors should be appointed by the supreme govern- 
ment, or assume the offices by due form of law after 
the restoration of peace. In the decree announcing 
this action the country was declared in a state of 
siege, and martial law in full force. Botello and 
Guerra were named as a committee to report on 
ways and means for prosecuting the war. Their re- 
port, presented next day, approved in the session of 
the 30th, and issued as a decree by Flores on the 
31st, was in favor of annulHng Pico's sales of mission 
estates, and of hypothecating one or more of those es- 
tates as security for a loan of such sums as public 
necessity might require. Before the assembly Flores 
took the oath of office, listening and replying on that 
occasion to a speech of President Figueroa. Neither 
discourse contained any feature calHng for special com- 
ment, one being merely an expression of the country's 
confidence in the new ruler, and the other the usual 
protestation of unworthiness, coupled with patriotic 
zeal. The date of the oath is not very clear. In his 
communications to foreign consuls, Flores makes the 
date November 1st, but he had already issued, Octo- 
ber 31st, the decree mentioned above, and another 
making Narcisco Botello his secretary.*^ 

Meanwhile Stockton, having left Monterey Octo- 
ber 19th, arrived at San Pedro with the Congress on 

*' Oct. 26th-30th, record of assembly proceedings, in Olvera, Doc, MS., 
40. Oct. 26th, decree of assembly electing Flores. Castro, Doc, MS., ii. 
150. Oct. 30th, Flores to Carrillo, ordering the publication of the decree of 
Oct. 26th. Cai-rillo [D.), Doc, MS., 94. Oct. 3l8t, Flores' decree naming 
Botello as secretario del despacho. Doc Hist. CcU., MS., iii. 267-8. Nov. 
1st, Flores to Forbes and Lataillade, announcing that * to-day ' he has taken 
the oath. Id., 269, 271. Oct. 30th, decree of assembly on missions. Unb. 
Doc, MS., 360-1. Jafmens, Doc, MS., 33-5. Oct. 31st, Flores' decree 
promulgating the preceding. Soberanes, Doc, MS., 326; Castro, Doc^ MS., 
li. 153. 


the 23d, and learned from Mervine the facts of his 
late disaster. "Elated by this transient success, which 
the enemy with his usual want of veracity magnified 
into a great victory, they collected in large bodies on 
all the adjacent hills, and would not permit a hoof 
except their own horses to be within fifty miles of 
San Pedro. I had, however, agreed to land here, to 
be in readiness to cooperate with the forces under 
Major Fremont, expected from Santa Barbara; and 
therefore determined to do so in the face of their 
boasting insolence, and there again to hoist the glori- 
ous stars in the presence of their horse-covered hills. 
On our approach to the shore the enemy fired a few 
muskets without harm, and fled; we took possession, 
and once more hoisted our flag at San Pedro. The 
troops remained encamped at that place for several 
days before the insurgents who covered the adjacent 
hills, and until both officers and men had become almost 
worn out by chasing and skirmishing with and watch- 
ing them, and until I had given up all hope of the coop- 
eration of Major Fremont. Besides, the enemy had 
driven ofl" every animal, man, and beast, from that 
section of the country; and it was not possible by 
any means in our powxT to carry provisions for our 
march to the city. . .The insurgent force in the vicin- 
ity was supposed to number about 800 men. The 
roadstead of San Pedro was also a dangerous position 
for men-of-war;"*^ and therefore the commodore de- 

^'^ Stockton's Report, 42; Id., Mil. and Naval Operations, 11, 16-17, with 
orders of Oct. 26th for landing, and of the 28th thanking the men for their 
gallantry. Gillespie with 50 men was to land first, but failed to do so, 'in 
consequence of a fancied force of the enemy. Not so with the sailors and 
marines,' who landed in a most gallant manner. Several Calif ornians relate 
that a letter containing scurrilous nonsense was sent to Stockton's camp by 
being tied to a dog. All seem to regard this a very funny occurrence; there- 
fore I note it. On Nov. 9th Larkin writes to his wife: 'There is a report 
here among the natives that two or three miles from S. Pedro the commodore 
formed his men thus V-y, with the cannon behind them; then sending ahead 
100 men, who on meeting the Calif ornians retreated on the main body, losing 
a few seamen, when the main body opened and gave fire, which killed and 
wounded about 100 people, many being also taken prisoners. The report ap- 
pears consistent, and is believed here. If it is true, I hope the Californians 
are satisfied.' Larkin' s Doc, MS., iv. 320. 


cided to attack Los Angeles by way of San Diego. 
His landing was on October 27th; and his departure 
for the south in the first days of November. He had 
about 800 naen, and w^ith a few light guns might 
easily have retaken Los Angeles ; but he had evidently 
modified his oft-expressed opinions of Californian valor^ 
and had become somewhat cautious. Of the 800 at- 
tributed to the enemy, 700 at least existed only in 
the American imagination; for Carrillo had adopted, 
as all the native writers agree, the tactics which some 
have accredited to Stockton on a former occasion at the 
same place — that of displaying his men on the march 
among the hills in such a way that each man was sev- 
eral times counted. He also caused large droves of 
riderless horses to raise clouds of dust in the distance. 
His success in frightening Stockton away was beyond 
his expectations, and possibly his hopes; for there is 
some reason to suppose that Flores had founded on 
the present display and past successes a hope that the 
American commander might be induced to consent to 
a truce, by the terms of which he would hold the 
ports and leave the Californians in possession of the 
interior until the national quarrel should be settled.*^ 
At San Diego we left the American garrison on 
board the Stonington. Bidwell went in a boat with 
four men up to San Pedro to obtain supplies. He ar- 
rived apparently during Mervine's absence on October 
7th-8th, and started back at once; but a gale arose, 
and the trip was a long and perilous one. As soon as 
Mervine returned to his ship and heard the news, he 
seems to have sent Lieutenant Minor with a small 
party down to reenforce Merritt; and on his arrival 

*' B. D. Wilson, Observations, MS., 85-8, states that such a plan was made 
known to him by J. A. Carrillo; and that as a prisoner he was sent with a 
sergeant to an elevated spot near the S. Pedro landing, with instructions on 
a given signal to raise a white flag and to communicate to Stockton the prop- 
osition for a truce, He sawCarrillo's parade of horses, etc.; and he also saw 
the ship's boats full of men approach the shore; but he says they did not land. 
He is very positive that Stockton landed no men; but either his memory is 
at fault, or the period of his watch was when Gillespie's men failed to land, 
aa already recorded. 


the united forces — or possibly Merritt's men and the 
whalers before his arrival — landed and again occupied 
San Diego. The exact date is not known, and our 
information respecting these events is extremely mea- 
gre. Meanwhile, Serbulo Varela had been sent down 
from Angeles with a force to operate on the southern 
frontier. It does not clearly appear whether or not 
he was in command when the place was retaken, or 
that any hostilities occurred; but many of his men 
were unmanageable, and the force gradually dissolved ; 
and on October 26th, after the Americans were again 
in possession, Captain Leonardo Cota and Kamon 
Carrillo were sent to replace Varela, and to press the 
siege. Their tactics here as elsewhere consisted in 
driving off live-stock and harassing the foe. They 
were instructed to make no attack, but to keep a close 
watch on the Americans, report their strength and 
movements, and cut off their supplies. At the same 
time they were to see to it that no San Diegan shirked 
his part of the country's defence, acting to that end 
in accord with Alcalde Marron.** 

** BidweWs Cal. inl841-8, MS., 188-98; Lancey's Cruise, 135; Stockton's 
reports, naming Minor as in command at S. Diego. Oct. 26th, Floras' order 
recalling Varela, and his instructions to Cota and (>arrillo. Olvera, Doc, MS., 
52-4. Bidwell says he was fired at by the natives at S. Juan Capistrano on 
his way up the coast; that on his return he had thrown overboard, among 
other things, a keg with a bottle and message, which he had prepared to 
leave at S. Pedro if no vessels had been found, the Indian finder of which was 
shot by Flores as a spy; and that immediately on his return Merritt's men 
and the whalers landed their cannon and retook the town, not without re- 
sistance by the foe, at whom the two cannon were fired alternately every 100 
yards. Soon Pedrorena went up to S. Pedro for aid, and brought back Gil- 
lespie (Minor?) with a part of his force in the Magnolia. About this time 
the Calif omians attacked the post with a cannon from the hill; but the gar- 
rison made a sally, captured the gun, and with it killed one of the enemy's 
horses. It is possible that Bidwell's version is correct, and that the town was 
retaken by the original garrison before Minor's arrival. 



November-December, 1846. 

Stockton at San Diego — Petty Hostilities — Preparations Intbrrupted- 
— U. S. Troops Coming from the East — Affairs at Angeles — Orders 
AND Correspondence — Revolt against the Governor — Coronel's Ad- 
ventures — The Dalton Financial Scheme— The Chino Prisoners— 
Flores Imprisoned and Released — Alarming News — Kearny's In- 
structions — His March from New Mexico — Meeting Kit Carson — 
Capture of Horses and a Courier on the Colorado — Across the; 
Desert to Warner's and Santa Maria — Reenforced by Gillespie — 
Fight at San Pascual — Defeat of Kearny by the Californians un- 
der Pico— Thirty-seven Men Killed and Wounded — In Camp at 
San Bernardo— Reenforcemknts under Gray— March to San Di- 
ego — Stockton and Kearny March on Angeles. 

Early in November 1846 Commodore Stockton, 
leaving the Savannah at San Pedro, went down to San 
Die^o with the Congress. His plan was to obtain 
horses and supplies, and to advance on Los Angeles. 
Immediately after his arrival he received by the Maleh 
Adhel despatches from Fremont, explaining that offi- 
cer's turning-back, and his project of making an over- 
land expedition to the south. Of events at San Diego 
for a month after the commodore's arrival, we have 
but little information beyond what is contained in his 
brief reports — in substance as follows : He found the 
town in a state of siege, Lieutenant Minor being in 
great need of reenforcements and supplies. The frig- 
ate struck in attempting to cross the bar, and was 
forced to return to the anchorage outside. Arrange- 
ments were made to send a party under Captain Gib- 


son of the battalion in the Stonington down the coast 
to Ensenada after horses and cattle; Mervine was 
sent with the Savannah to Monterey to aid Frdmont 
in his preparations; and Stockton, having made a trip 
to San Pedro for that purpose, returned to San Diego. 
The ship being becalmed on the way. Lieutenant 
Tilghman was sent in a boat to urge Minor to hasten 
his preparations for the march northward. This time 
the Congress was brought successfully into the bay 
though not without having once dangerously grounded. 
''The situation of the place was found to be most mis- 
erable and deplorable. The male inhabitants had 
abandoned the town, leaving their women and chil- 
dren dependent upon us for protection and food. No 
horses could be obtained to assist in the transporta- 
tion of the guns and ammunition, and not a beef could 
be had to supply the necessary food," though, as the 
writer somewhat contradictorily adds, Gibson had re- 
turned, " driving about 90 horses and 200 head of 
beef cattle into the garrison." Meanwhile the Cali- 
fornians held the region roundabout the town. Stock- 
ton says: "On the afternoon of our arrival the enemy, 
irritated I suppose by the loss of his animals, came 
down in considerable force and made an attack; they 
were, however, soon driven back with the loss of two 
men and horses killed, and four w^ounded. These skir- 
mishes, or running fights, are of almost daily occur- 
rence; since we have been here, we have lost as yet 
but one man killed and one wounded." Thus reported 
the commodore on November 23d, the only definite 
date we have for these events.^ That there were, 
however, any hostilities involving loss of life, I think 
there is room for doubt. 

More horses were required; and those already ob- 
tained needed rest. "During the time required for 
resting the horses," writes the commodore, "we were 

^ Nov. 23, 1846, Stockton to Sec. Bancroft, in Stockton's Mil. and Naval 
Oper., 11-12. Also to same purport, except as to the killing of three men, in 
Id., Report of Feb. 18, I847, p. 43-4, which is the chief authority for the events 
immediately following. 


actively employed in the construction of a fort for the 
more complete protection of the town, mounting guns, 
and in making the necessary harness, saddles, and 
bridles. While the work of preparation necessary for 
our march was thus going on, we sent an Indian to 
ascertain where the principal force of the insurgents 
was encamped. He returned with information that a 
body of them, about 50 strong, was encamped at San 
Bernardo, about 30 miles from San Diego. Captain 
Gillespie ^ was immediately ordered to have as many 
men as he could mount, with a piece of artillery, 
ready to march for the purpose of surprising the in- 
surgents in their camp. Another expedition, under 
command of Captain Hensley^ of the battalion, was 
sent to the southward for animals, who, after perform- 
ing the most arduous service, returned with 500 head 
of cattle and 140 horses and mules. About Decem- 
ber 3d two deserters, whose families lived in San 
Diego, came into the place and reported themselves 
to Lieutenant Minor, the commander of the troops. 
On receiving information of the fact I repaired to his 
quarters with my aide-de-camp, Lieut Gray, for the 
purpose of examining one of these men. While en- 
gaged in this examination, a messenger arrived with 
a letter from Gen. Kearny of the U. S. army, appris- 
ing me of his approach, and expressing a wish that I 

* Nov. 29th, Gillespie writes to Larkin : * In consequence of the great want 
of animals, every horse being driven away, Com. Stockton has landed here 
with all his force, and intends to maintain this position until we catch horses, 
and then proceed upon the march to the pueblo. We hear nothing from Maj. 
Fr6mont, but suppose that he must be near the pueblo. Some few of the en- 
emy show themselves now and then upon the hills opposite to us, beyond the 
reach of our guns. We muster now on shore 450 men, and altogether have a 
fine camp. The Congress is safely moored within pistol-shot of the hide- 
houses, where she will no doubt lie until the winter is passed.' Larkin'sDoc, 
MS., iv. 334. 

' 'In November 1846 I was directed by Com. Stockton to go into lower 
California and get horses, mules, cattle, saddles, and saddle-rigging. I was 
directed to proceed by sea, and accordingly went on board the Stonington, 
and disembarked at San Domingo. In landing we swamped two boats, with 
the loss of seven or- eight rifles, several pistols, blankets, and many articles of 
clothing. We succeeded in getting 140 head of horses and mules, and about 
300 head of cattle, some saddles and saddle-rigging. The cattle belonged to 
Juan Bandini, who was in S. Diego at the time.' Hensley's testimony in Fri» 
monfs Cal. Claims, 35. Hensley did not return until about Dec. 20th. 


would open a communication with him and inform 
him of the state of affairs in California. Capt. Gilles- 
pie was immediately ordered to proceed to Gen. 
Kearny's camp with the force which he had been di- 
rected to have in readiness. He left San Diego at 
about half-past seven o'clock the same evening, taking 
with him one of the deserters to act as a guide in 
conducting Gen. Kearny to the camp of the insur- 

At Angeles Flores continued to issue as before his 
routine orders to subordinates, few of which require 
any special notice. It is to be noted, however, that 
many of them relate to affairs in the direction of San 
Diego, and naturally, since there was the camp of the 
enemy. From these documents it appears that a 
party of Americans from San Diego may have un- 
dertaken an expedition into the interior not mentioned 
in Stockton's reports. At any rate, on November 22d 

* Stockton's Report, 44-5. Judge Hayes, Emig. Notes., 364-6; Miscel.y 41- 
2, gives some details of these times gleaned from conversations vi^ith the old 
Californians, as follows: Bandini, Argiiello, Pedrorena, and others vrere very 
friendly to the Americans. J. A. Estudillo was neutral, like Abel Steams, 
who went at first across the frontier, and later to the Cajon rancho. Bandini 
entertained sumptuously. Some of the force were quartered at the house of 
Dona Maria Ibaiiez and part at the Argiiello house. Women and children 
were gathered within the strong walls of the Estudillo house. The Califor- 
nians held the fortified Stockton hill (?) so near that Juan Rocha could be 
heard shouting to his aunt for ropa and chocolate. J. M. Orozco amused him- 
self by firing at A. B. Smith when he climbed the flag-staff to fix the flag; 
and also at Pedrorena, who was escorting a young lady — merely to scare him. 
One day a party came down and drove off some cattle from the flat near the 
Argiiello house. Then on the 8th day of the siege, Capt. Argiiello with a 
company ascended the hill, and though wounded in the leg, drove the Cali- 
fornians, under Hermosillo, from their position. They made a new stand be- 
hind the ruins of the old presidio walls, but soon retreated toward the mission. 
Capt. Pedrorena went in pursuit, and about a mile up the valley met and 
exchanged some shots with the advanced guard under Leandro Osuna. 
Farther on, an American going to water his mule in a caiiada was killed. 
Pedrorena was again successful in a charge on the foe at the old mission, 
where Ramon Carrillo (?) and others were taken prisoners. From this time 
many, disgusted with Hermosillo's conduct in these affairs, began to come in 
and give themselves up. Dances and festivities followed. The grand music 
of Stockton's naval band is still spoken of by the natives. At one of the 
jollifications came the news of Kearny's approach. Marron, Papeles, MS., 
14-19, gives some similar reminiscences. Her husband had been forced into 
the Califomian ranks, escaped, and was retaken and lost nearly all his prop- 


Andres Pico was ordered in all haste to proceed with 
a hundred men to San Luis to cut oif the retreat of 
a body of the enemy which Flores understood to have 
started for Santa Isabel. Captain Cota at the same 
time was instructed to cooperate with Pico; and the 
hope was expressed that the Americans might be 
caught between the two forces and destroyed. Two 
days later it was learned that the enemy had gone 
back to San Diego; but still Don Andres was ordered 
to make a reconnoissance in the region of the San Jos6 
Valley; and he seems to have remained in the south, 
where we shall presently hear from him. Flores him- 
self a little earlier had announced his intention to 
march with 200 men to San Diego as soon as a quan- 
tity of powder could be manufactured. He also made 
an effort to win back the support of Juan Bandini for 
the Californian cause, but without success.^ 

^ Nov. 5th, Flores' procl. The country having been declared in a state of 
siege, all citizens from 15 to 60 years of age must appear to take up arms at 
the first alarm. The signal, a cannon-shot, general alarm, and ringing of bells. 
Those who fail to respond will be put to death as traitors. Janssens, Doc^ 
MS., 35-7; Olvera, iJoc., 54-6. Nov. 6th, Flores to com. at Sta In^s. Rob- 
bins, A. B, Thompson, Daniel Hill, and Robert Cruell to remain at Sta In6s 
till further orders; but may go to Sta Barbai-a on business. Janssens, Doc.y 
MS., 37-8. Nov. 6th, Capt. G. Flores to Janssens. Thinks the latter un- 
fortunate in being appointed military commandant. 'A Mexican is malvisto, 
even if he perform miracles.' /(/., 54. No powder, and not a dollar to buy 

any. Id. , 55. Nov. 8th, Flores to (Antonio Rodriguez ?), ordering him to 

raise and command a 9th company at Sta Bdrbara. Id., 38-40. Nov. 12lh, 
13th, Flores to Cota. Will soon march to S. Diego. Understands the diffi- 
culty of approaching that place; but you can cut off the enemy's supplies and. 
communications, and shoot every Indian found in his service. Must report 
if the enemy had been recnforced by a ship that passed S. Pedro on the 8th. 
Olvera, Doc, MS., 57-9. Nov. 12th, Flores to Bandini, urging him to sup- 
port the Californian cause, and assuring him that he shall not be molested in 
any way for the past. He calls Don Juan ' Uncle.' Bandini, Doc, MS., 99. 
Same date, Flores to Cota. Official letter enclosing one for Bandini; and pri- 
vate letter, in which he says : ' I flatter him a little to see if we cannot turn an 
enemy into a friend, for our circumstances do not allow us to commit impru- 
dent acts at present. This man is the one most to be feared now, and it is 
necessary not to vex him. You may write to him and try to raise his spirit 
and fill him with confidence, and see what may be got out of him, especially 
arms and ammunition.' Olvera, Doc, MS., 58-60. Nov. 19th, Flores to 
Janssens. You may impose a contribution of cattle and grain to support 
your detachment, not to exceed 15 men. Janssem, Doc, MS., 40-1. Nov. 
22d, Flores to Andrc-s Pico and to Cota. Instructions for campaign, as in my 
text. Pico, Doc, MS., ii. 101-3; Olvtra, Doc, MS., 03-7. Nov. 24th, Flores 
to Pico. Pico, Doc, MS., ii. 105. Nov. ^Otli, Piaimundo Carrillo, coman- 
dante at Sta Barbara, orders Janssens to go to S. Luis Obispo and learn MJmt 
force was there, if proper precautions were taken, and if there was any news 
of Fremont's movements. Ja7i.s.<en.<, Doc, MS., 56-7. 


Flores was an intelligent and well educated man, 
who, as far as can be known, had not intrigued for 
his position, and under difficult circumstances had 
performed its duties with entire good faith toward the 
Californians and with fair ability and success. He 
was, however, a Mexican de la otra handa; there were 
many who thought a native Californian should be at 
the head of affairs; and the success of the new gov- 
ernment was sufficient to inspire jealousies. It is 
believed, though evidence on this point is not very 
plentiful or definite, that Jose Antonio Carrillo, next 
to Flores in military command, was the officer who 
chiefly but secretly instigated opposition to the gov- 
ernor. During the San Pedro campaign there are 
related a few instances of insubordination on the part 
of Ramon Carrillo and others ; about San Diego there 
had been bickerings between Californian and Mexican 
officials, resulting in much demorahzation of the 
troops; Joaquin de la Torre was accredited with hav- 
ing used his influence against Flores among northern 
officers and men; and Manuel Cantua had been put 
in prison for disobedience of orders and wholesale 
plundering of ranches. But the general, declaring 
that he had not sought the command, that he was 
willing to resign it, and that success was difficult 
enough even if all would unite their efforts, declined 
to engage in any quarrel.^ 

At last for a brief period there was open revolt 
against Flores' authority. The immediate cause or 
pretext was his proposed action in the matter of 
obtaining resources for the war, and disposition of 
the Chino prisoners. Naturally, as there were no 
public funds whatever, the task of clothing and sup- 
porting the soldiers in actual service was a difficult 
one. Antonio F. Coronel was despatched to Mexico 
via Sonora as a commissioner to solicit aid from the 
national government, taking with him the American 

^ Flores' views are indicated in several communications, especially in those 
of Nov. 1st, 2d, to Manuel Castro, in Doc. /list. CaL, MS., iii. 270, 272-3. 


flag captured at San Pedro, and also a band of horses 
and mules. Before he started a party of Sonorans 
luid set out with a much larger band of animals that 
had perhaps been stolen. At Warner's rancho Don 
Antonio heard of a party of Americans who had left 
San Diego to capture his horses; and it was probably 
liis report that caused Andrds Pico to be sent to that 
region, as already related. On approaching the Colo- 
rado crossing, Coronel heard of an American force 
coming from the east, and also of the horse-thieves 
encamped in that region; which caused him to turn 
back, after sending Felipe Castillo to Sonora with his 
despatches; and he returned to Aguanga, near Tem^- 
cula, to await further developments. Here he was 
surprised on December 3d, escaping capture, but los- 
ing his animals. '^ Meanwhile Flores devised another 
scheme for obtaining supplies. Henry Dalton, an 
English merchant of Los Angeles, who had married 
a sister of Flores' wife, had a quantity of needed 
articles in stock, which he was willing to deliver in 
exchange for drafts on Mexico — of course at a good 
round price, as is customary in such contracts the 
world over, and as was justifiable enough in this in- 
stance, since Dalton assumed a great risk of losing 
the whole amount of the investment. In order to 
promote the payment of the drafts by exaggerating 
the achievements of the Californians, and at the same 
time to enhance the general's personal glory, it was 
proposed to send the Chino prisoners to Mexico. 
These prisoners were, however, men of considerable 
influence, several of them being married to natives. 
Through their friends, prominent among whom were 
William Workman and Ignacio Palomares, they made 
every effort to save themselves. Of course they took 

'Coronel, Cosas de Cat., MS., 104, etc. At the time of his surprise he 
had come down from his hiding-place in the sierra to meet couriers who failed 
to appear, and was drying his clothing in a house where he had eaten supper. 
Barefoot, and clad only in shirt and drawers, he escaped by climbing a tree; 
and wandered for a long time in the mountains before he could obtain a horse. 
Popular tradition has given another explanation of his d^shahilU, much more 
romantic, but probably less accurate than that given by himself. 


advantage of the current prejudice of the CaKfornian 
officers against Flores. Francisco Rico, lately re- 
turned from the north, became the nominal leader of 
the malecontents ; and the most absurd charges were 
made against the governor, notably that he was pre- 
paring to run away to Sonora with the public funds I 
How he was to pay the balance of his travelling 
expenses after exhausting the said funds does not 

During the night of December 3d Rico and his 
companions took possession of the cuartely apparently 
without opposition; and placed Flores under arrest. 
His imprisonment lasted until the 5th. On that day* 
the assembly in an extra session investigated the mat- 
ter. Flores admitted his previous plan of sending the 
prisoners to Mexico, which plan, however, he was 
willing to abandon. Not the slightest foundation could 
be adduced for the other charges; and accordingly 
the assembly denounced the movement as unjustifiable, 
and especially so at the present critical juncture. 
Alarming news from the south had arrived the night 
before; Carrillo and his fellow-conspirators deemed it 
best under the circumstances not to urge their cause ; 
Palomares and Workman had effected their purpose, 
since Wilson and his men were to remain ; and there- 
fore Flores was restored to power; the opposition to 
him was silenced temporarily though not eradicated; 
and Rico in his turn was made a prisoner.^ 

^ Dec. 5th, 7th, Flores to Cota and to Janssens, relatmg his arrest. Olvera^ 
Doc, MS., 68-9, 71; Janssens, Doc, MS., 45-6. He thinks that the affair of 
the prisoners was only a pretext, and that Carrillo and the rest had been in- 
fluenced not only by the former's ambition, but had been bought with oro 
Americano to ruin their country, which he believes has had a very narrow 
escape. Dec. 5th, action of the assembly. Olvera, Doc, MS., 49-51; Pico, 
Doc, MS., ii. 109-10. Dec. 4th, Olvera wrote to Coronel, describing the af- 
fair. Coronel, Cosas de Cal., MS., 115. Narratives also in Wilson's Observ., 
MS., 82-5; liico, Mem., MS., 30-5, whose version is that the assembly, com- 
posed mainly of Mexicans, would not listen to his well founded charges. Bo- 
tello, Anales, MS., 152-3; Dice Univ., viii. 159-60. Dec. 5th, Flores to Cota, 
mentioning Coronel's letter, in which he announced hostile operations of the 
Americans. Cota is ordered to do his best to recapture the horses and punish 
the foe. If this be impossible, he is to reoccupy his former position. Olvera, 
Doc, MS., 69-70. Dec. 7th, Flores to Janssens. Cannot send a man, for 
the enemy is upon us. Consult with Jesus Pico, collect the greatest possible 
force and keep it ready. Janssens, Doc, MS., 45. 


The alarming news to which I have referred was 
Coronel's report that a party of Americans had cap- 
tured his animals near Ahuanga. Flores was greatly 
puzzled to account for the presence of the enemy in 
that quarter, since he could not understand how they 
had left San Diego and penetrated into the interior 
without being seen by the forces of either Pico or Cota. 
As a matter of fact, they had come not from San Di- 
ego, but from the opposite direction. They were the 
men from whom Stockton had received a letter on or 
about December 3d; and it is now time to explain 
their presence in California and to follow their move- 

Colonel Stephen W. Kearny, leaving Fort Leaven- 
worth at the end of June, 1846, occupied Santa Fe 
and accomplished the conquest of New Mexico in Au- 
gust, as related in another part of this work. Before 
he started on this expedition he received orders, dated 
at Washington, June 3d, to march across the conti- 
nent from Santa Fe and take possession of California. 
He was to cooperate with the naval forces, which 
would be found probably in possession of the ports; 
and having secured the country, he was to organize 
a temporary civil government. I append some ex- 
tracts from the instructions forwarded to Kearny at 
different dates.^ They will prove of some importance 

*June 3, 1846, instructions of Sec. of War Marcy to Col. Kearny. 'It 
has been decided by the pres. to be of the greatest importance in the pend- 
ing war with Mex. to take the earliest possession of Upper Cal. An expedi- 
tion with that view is hereby ordered, and you are designated to command it. 
To enable you to be in sufficient force to conduct it successfully, this addi- 
tional force of 1,000 mounted men has been provided to follow you in the 
direction of Sta F6...\Vhen you arrive at Sta ¥6 with the force already 
called, and shall have taken possession of it, you may find yourself in a con- 
dition to garrison it with a small part of your command, as the additional 

force will soon be at that place, and with the remainder press forward to Cal 

It is understood that a considerable number of American citizens are now set- 
tled on the Sacramento River, near Sutter's establishment, called New Hel- 
vetia, who are well disposed toward the U. S. Should you on your arrival 
find this to be the true state of things, you are authorized to organize and re- 
ceive into the service of the U. S. sucli portions of these citizens as you may 
think useful to aid you to hold possession of the country. You will in that 
case allow them, so far as you shall judge proper, to select their own officers. 
A large discretionary power is invested in you in regard to these matters, as 


in connection with later complications, besides show- 
ing the ideas of the government at Washington re- 
specting the future status of California. At about 

well as to all others . . . The choice of routes by which you will enter Cal. will 

be left to your better knowledge, etc Though it is very desirable that the 

expedition should reach Cal. this season, . . . yet you are left unembarrassed 
by any specific directions in this matter. It is expected that the naval forces 
of the U. S., which are now or soon will be in the Pacific, will be in posses- 
sion of all the towns on the sea-coast, and will cooperate with you in the con- 
quest of Cal. . . .Should you conquer and take possession of N. Mex. and Cal., 
or considerable places in either, you will establish temporary civil govern- 
ments therein, abolishing all arbitrary restrictions that may exist, so far as 
it may be done with safety. In performing this duty, it would be wise and 
prudent to continue in their employment all such of the existing oflficers as 
are known to be friendly to the U. S. and will take the oath of allegiance to 
them. . .You may assure the people of those provinces that it is the wish and 
design of the U. S. to provide for them a free govt, with the least possible 
delay, similar to that which exists in our territories ... It is foreseen that 
what relates to civil govt will be a diflScult and unpleasant part of your du- 
ties, and which must necessarily be left to your discretion . . . The rank of 
brevet brigadier-general will be conferred on you as soon as you commence 
your movement toward Cal.' Cal. and N. Mex., Mess, and Doc, 236-9. 
June 18th, 'Since my last letter it has been determined to send a small force 
round Cape Horn to Cal . . . Arrangements are now on foot to send a regiment 
of volunteers by sea. These troops, and such as may be organized in Cal., 
will be under your command.' June 5th, the proclamation sent you, in- 
tended for Gen. Taylor, to issue to the Mexicans, will not answer our pur- 
pose for Cal. Id., 239-40. Sept. r2th, volunteer regiment about to sail. 
'This force is to be a part of your command; but as it may reach its destina- 
tion before you, the colonel, J. D. Stevenson, has been furnished with instruc- 
tions for his conduct in the mean time. I send you a copy; also a copy of 
instructions to the commander of naval squadron, a copy of a letter to Gen. 
Taylor, etc., and a copy of general regulations relative to the respective 
rank of naval and army officers. These, so far as applicable, will be looked 
upon in the light of instructions to yourself . ' /c?., 241-2. Dec, 10th, 'It is 
presumed that you will not find a state of things in Cal. requiring you to 
remain in that country, but that you will deem it proper to leave affairs there 
in charge of Col. Mason, recently sent out, and return to Sta F^.' Jan. 11, 
1847, 'It is proper to remark that the provisions of the law established for 
New Mexico go in some respects beyond the line designated by the presi- 
dent, and propose to confer upon the people of the territory rights under 
the constitution of the U. S.; such rights can only be acquired by the ac- 
tion of congress . . . Under the law of nations the power conquering a terri- 
tory or country has a right to establish a civil govt within the same as a 
means of securing the conquest, and with a view of protecting the persons 
and property of the people, and it is not intended to limit you in the full 
exercise of this authority. Indeed, it is desired that you should exercise it 
in such a manner as to inspire confidence in the people that our power is to 
be firmly sustained in that country. The territory in our military occupation 
acquired from the enemy by our arms cannot be regarded, the war still con- 
tinuing, as permanently annexed to the U. S., though our authority to exer- 
cise civil government over it is not by that circumstance the least restricted.' 
Id., 244-5. Jan. Uth, extract of letter to Stockton, forwarded to Kearny. 
On Nov, 5th you were informed that the pres, ' has deemed it best for the 
public interests to invest the militaiy officer commanding with tlie direction 
of the operations on land, and with the administrative functions of govt over 
the people and territory occupied by us.' This was before the receipt of 


the time of Kearny's expedition, arrangements were 
made for the sending of several different bodies of 
troops to California; but as none of these accom- 
panied Kearny or reached their destination in 1846, 
it will be more convenient to defer an account of mili- 
tary preparations until I come to treat of results in 
the annals of 1847. 

It was on September 25th that General Kearny — for 
his commission as general had already reached him — 
left Santa Fe with 300 of the 1st dragoons for Cali- 
fornia. The line of march was down the valley of the 
Rio Grande. Nothing of interest occurred until the 
army on October 6th reached a point some thirteen 
miles below Socorro. Here was met Kit Carson, with 
fifteen men, including six Delaware Indians, en route 
from Los Angeles to Washington with despatches 
from Stockton. Carson brought the news that the 
conquest of California had, at his departure in August, 
been already fully eflfected by Stockton and Fremont ; 
that there was no longer the slightest opposition to 
the American rule; that Stockton was engaged in or- 
ganizing a civil government; and that Fremont was 
to be made governor. 

This news caused the general to modify his plans, 
and to send back 200 of his 300 dragoons under Ma- 
jor Sumner to Santa Fe. He retained companies C 
and K, or 100 dragoons, under Captain Benjamin D. 
Moore, Lieutenant Thomas C. Hammond, and Lieu- 
tenant John W. Davidson. His staff consisted of 
Captain Henry S. Turner, acting assistant adjutant- 
general; Captain Abraham R. Johnston, aide-de- 
camp; Major Thomas Swords, quartermaster; Lieu- 
tenants William H. Emory and William H. Warner of 

Stockton's despatches of Sept. 18th, 19th, which were received Dec. 26th, 
Then follows a general disquisition on the nature of military occupation. 
* This right of possession, however, is temporary, unless made absolute by 
subsequent events,' coupled with a general approval of Stockton's acts, 
though ' at present it is needless, and might be injurious to the public in- 
terests to agitate the question in Cal. as to how long those persons who have 
been elected for a prescribed period of time will have official authority. ' The 
number of appointments should be made as small as possible. Id., 240-7. 


the topographical engineers, with a dozen assistants 
and servants ;^^ and Assistant Surgeon John S. Griffin. 
Antonio Robidoux was the guide, and Carson became 
his associate. The latter was unwilling to turn back, 
desiring to deliver his despatches in person, and also 
to visit his family; but Kearny insisted and became 
responsible for the safe and speedy delivery of the 
papers. The whole force of officers and men was 
therefore 121. Two mountain howitzers were taken 
under the charge of Lieutenant Davidson. The men 
were mounted chiefly on mules; the luggage was car- 
ried at first in wagons, which were, however, soon 
abandoned in favor of pack-mules. 

The 15th of October, in the region of Fra Crist6bal, 
they left the valley of the Rio Grande, and turned to 
the westward into the mountains, passing the old cop- 
per mines, and striking the upper Gila five days later, 
without adventures requiring mention." On Novem- 
ber 9th they emerged from the mountains into the 
valley of the lower Gila; and on the 22d reached the 
vicinity of the Colorado junction. The march had 
been a hard one; many animals had been lost, some 
eaten, and the rest were in bad condition; but there 

^° Those named were J. M.Stanley, draughtsman; Norman Bestor, assistant; 
Jas Early, W. H. Peterson, Baptiste Perrot, Maurice Longdeaii, Francois Von 
Cceur, Fran9ois Menard, Jas Riley, Dabney Eustice, and Williams. 

'^ There are two diaries of the whole trip extant. The most complete is 
Emory^s Notes of a Military lieconnoissance from Fort Leavenworth in Mis- 
souri to San Diego in California. Washington, 1848. Being 30th Cong. 1st Sess. , 
H. Ex. Doc. 41, p. 55-126; the diary being from Sept. 25, 1846, to Jan. 20, 
1847. The other is Dr Griflfin's Journal of a trip with the First U. S. Dra- 
goons from New Mexico to California in I846, MS. copy in the handwriting 
of Judge Hayes from the original. A part has been printed in the Los 
Angeles History. A third diary is Capt. Johnston's Journal printed with that 
of Emory, p. 567-614. It terminates on Dec. 4th, the author having been 
killed in battle by the Califomians on the 6th. Lieut Cooke also gives a di- 
ary of the march down the Rio Grande; but he turned back to Sta ¥6, and 
the rest of the journey is described from the journals of other officers. Cookers 
Conquest of Cal., 68-86, 228-56. The expedition is briefly described in letters 
of Gen. Kearny of Dec. 12th, 13th. SOth Cong. 1st Sess., Sen. Ex. Doc. 1, 513- 
16; still more briefly in Major Swords' report of Oct. 8, 1847. SOth Cong. 
2d Sess., II. Ex. Doc, i. 226-8; and mentioned from the above sources in sev- 
eral govt documents. I have also a MS. Statement on San Pascual, by Asa 
M. Bowen, who was with this expedition; and Notes on S. Pascual^ MS., by 
Wm H. Dunne. I might give a long list of accounts made up from the pre- 

H18T. Cal., Vol. V. 22 


had been no serious mishap or suffering. Here they 
found a small party with a band of 500 horses coming 
from California and bound for Sonora. These men 
gave alarming but contradictory reports of the revo- 
lution at Los Angeles; and a bearer of despatches was 
also captured, whose papers confirmed the news that 
a large portion of the country was in possession of the 
Californians, including the region through which they 
were to pass. The Americans obtained all the horses 
they desired; and though most in the band were un- 
broken, many of the dragoons succeeded in getting a 
fresh mount. There is a degree of mystery about the 
men who had the horses. They told all kinds of 
stories about themselves. Coronel says they were 
horse-thieves proceeding to Sonora with stolen ani- 
mals; possibly some of the rancheros had sent the 
horses to Sonora on speculation, thinking that if not 
sent out of the country they were sure to fall into the 
hands of either the native or American armies, or cer- 
tain Mexican officers may have been interested in the 
venture; but I think there was no foundation for the 
statement made by some of the men that the horses 
belonged to Flores or Castro.^ 


^^ Emory says : ' Each gave a different account of the ownership and desti- 
nation of the horses. The chief of the party, a tall, venerable-looking man, 
represented himself to be a poor employ^ of several rich men engaged in sup- 
plying the Sonora market with horses. We subsequently learned that he 
was no less a personage than Jos6 Maria Leguna [Segura?], a colonel in the 
Mexican service.' Emory inplies that the Mexicans were kept in arrest tor 
a while, and released, the animals being taken as contraband. He mentions a 
woman of the party to whom a child was born in camp. Johnston says: 
'They lied so much that we could get but very little out of them,' though it 
appears their reports about afifairs in Cal. were very nearly accurate. ' The 
letters being opened were resealed by Capt. Turner, and all returned to the 
man, who was discharged. These fellows tell various stories about the horses ; 
they all acknowledge that a part of them belong to Gen. Castro. . .Nov. 24th, 
completed our trading with the Mexicans; Capt. Moore's men being in part 
remounted on wild horses, on which never man sat, they got of course many 
tumbles; but they stuck to the furious animals until they succeeded.' Dr 
Gritiin says the horses, 20 in number, were bought at $12 each, or for $2 and 
a broken-down animal; and the Mexicans were surprised at being paid at all. 
Lugo, Vidade un Rancher o, MS., 50-1, says that Capt. Segura ran away to 
Sonora with a band of horses and other property; and that he and Diego Se- 
pulveda started in pursuit and went nearly to the Colorado. He says it was 
suspected that Segura acted in secret accord with Flores, who sent the funds 
in advance, intending to flee to Sonora himself soon. It is not unlikely that the 


Kearny's men forded the Colorado November 
25th; and next day, provided with bunches of grass 
and mezquite-beans for the animals, they set out to 
cross the Californian desert. The worst of the desert 
had been passed at noon on the 28th, when they 
reached the Carrizo Creek; but the march had been 
attended with greater hardships than any before ex- 
perienced. Both men and animals were completely 
exhausted; and many of the latter, of which there 
were 250 at the Colorado, had been lost on the way. 
Pressing on, they reached Warner's rancho of Agua 
Caliente the 2d of December; and here their troubles, 
so far as lack of water and food was concerned, were 
at an end. The route had been for the most part 
farther south and a more difficult one than that usu- 
ally followed from the Colorado to San Gabriel. ^^ 
Warner was absent, but every attention was shown 
to the Americans by Marshall. The Indians of the 
region were also friendly. Here they were visited 
by Stokes, an English ranchero of the region, who 
volunteered to carry a letter to Stockton, and w^ho 
delivered it at San Diego, as we have seen, the 3d of 
December. ^^ Here also they learned that not far 

mail-carrier taken by Kearny was the Felipe Castillo despatched by Coronel, 
though it is said that his despatches bore date of Oct. 15th. 

^^ The route was as follows: Nov. 2Gth, 22 or 24 m. to Alamo; Nov. 27th, 
31 or 32 m. to salt Laguna; Nov. 28th, 27 or 22 m. to Carrizo Creek; Nov. 
29th, 20 m. to Bayo Cita, or Bayeau Chitoes (Vallecito?); Dec. 1st, 18 m. to 
S. Felipe, deserted Indian village; Dec. 2d, to Warner's rancho. The hard- 
ships of the march are described in detail by Emory, Johnston, and Grifl&n. 
The fresh horses obtained at the Colorado suffered more than the mules. 
On the way a Mexican family was met on their way to Sonora. 

^*The letter, in Stockton'' s Mil. and Nav. Op., 26-7, is as follows: 'Head- 
quarters, army of the west, camp at Warner's, Dec. 2, 1846. Sir: I this 
afternoon reached here, escorted by a party of the 1st regiment of dragoons. 
I came by order of the pres. of the U. S. We left Santa F6 on the 25th 
Sept., having taken possession of N. Mex., annexed it to the U. S., estab- 
lished a civil govt in that territory, and secured order, peace, and quietness 
there. If you can send a party to open communication with us on the route 
to this place, and to inform me o^ the state of affairs in Cal., I wish you 
would do so, and as quickly as possible. The fear of this letter falling into 
Mexican hands prevents me from writing more. Your express by Mr Car- 
son was met on the Del Norte, and your mail must have reached Washington 
10 days since. You might use the bearer, Mr Stokes, as a guide to conduct 
your party to this place. Very respectfully, etc. ' Stockton's reply was as 
follows: 'Headquarters, S. Di6go, Dec. 3d, 6:30 p. m. Sir: I have this mo- 
ment received your note of yesterday by Mr Stokes, and have ordered Capt. 


away was a band of horses and mules said to belong 
to the government; and Davidson with twenty-five 
men was sent to capture them, in which enterprise 
he was successful. These animals were those of Coro- 
nel's party at Ahuanga; but the horses were most of 
them unbroken, and therefore of no great use for the 
coming emergency.^^ On the 4th Kearny marched 
down the valley to Santa Isabel, where his men were 
as hospitably entertained by Stokes' majordomo ^Se- 
nor Bill,' as they had been by Marshall at Agua Cali- 
ente. Next day they marched on to the rancho of 
Santa Maria. On the way they met Gillespie, Lieu- 
tenant Edward F. Beale, and Midshipman James M. 
Duncan with thirty-five men and a four-pounder, the 
'Sutter gun,' sent by Stockton from San Diego.^^ At 
different points in the past few days they had heard 
reports, tolerably accurate, though not fully credited, 
respecting the state of affairs in California. They 
had learned that they were likely enough to meet the 
enemy upon their route; and even that a party es- 
corting prisoners to Mexico was soon expected to 
arrive. Now these reports, except the last, were 
fully confirmed by the new-comers. Stockton an- 
nounced that a hostile force was posted not many 
miles away, and suggested a surprise. The soldiers, 

Gillespie with a detachment of mounted riflemen and a field-piece to proceed 
to your camp without delay. Capt. G. is well informed in relation to the 
present state of things in Cal., and will give you all needful information. I 
need not, therefore, detain him by saying anything on the subject. I will 
merely state that I have this evening received information by two deserters 
from the rebel camp of the arrival of an additional force of 100 men, which, 
in addition to the force previously here, makes their number about 150. I 
send with Capt. G., as a guide, one of the deserters, that you may make in- 
quiries of him, and, if you see fit, endeavor to surprise them. Faithfully, 
your obedient servant, Robt F. Stockton, commander-in-chief and governor 
of the territory of Cal., etc' 

^5 Capt. Johnston says: 'After them came a party of French, English, 
and a Chilian, claiming their riding animals, as tliey were going out of the 
country, which the general gave them. Many of the animals from the herd 
were put into service, and arrangements made to secure the balance by driv- 
ing them into some safe place in the mountains.' 

'• 'The force which accompanied Capt. Gillespie consisted of a company of 
volunteers, composed of Acting Lieut Beale, Passed Midshipman Duncan, 10 
carbineers from the Congress, Capt. Gibson, and 25 of the California battal- 
ion.' Stockton's Report^ 45. The whole number was 39. 


after their unresisted occupation of New Mexico, and 
their tedious march across the continent, made no 
secret of their desire to be brought face to face with 
the foe. Kit Carson had affirmed along the march 
that the Cahfornians were cowards and would not 
fight. The battalion men from San Diego doubtless 
confirmed this view more or less fully. An attack 
was therefore decided upon; and in the evening 
Lieutenant Hammond was sent out to reconnoitre.^^ 

Captain Andres Pico, as we have seen, had been 
sent southward by Flores on November 22d, to cut 
off the retreat of a party of Americans understood to 
have left San Diego for the region of Santa Isabel. 
The alarm proved to be a false one — or at least, the 
Americans returned before Pico arrived; but Don 
Andres remained in the south, making his headquar- 
ters at San Luis Rey and Santa Margarita, cooperat- 

^^ Emory says: * We heard that the enemy was in force 9 miles distant.' 
After Hammond had been seen by the foe, * we were now on the main road 
to S. Diego, all the by-ways being in our rear, and it was therefore deemed 
necessary to attack the enemy and force a passage.' Johnston — the last en- 
try of his journal — says, on Dec. 4th: * We heard of a party of Californians, of 
80 men, encamped at a distance from this [Sta Isabel]; but the informant 
varied from 16 to 30 miles in his accounts, rendering it too uncertain to make 
a dash upon them in the dark; so we slept till morning.' Dr Griffin tells us 
that Gillespie's men camped soon after the meeting, while the rest went on 
some 10 miles to a point two miles beyond Sta Maria. 'A party of the enemy 
being reported in our vicinity, it was first determined that Capt. Moore 
should take 60 men and make a night attack; but for some reason the gen- 
eral altered his mind, and sent Lieut Hammond with the men to reconnoitre. ' 
Kearny, in his report of Dec. 13th, says: ' Having learned from Capt. Gilles- 
pie of the volunteers that there was an armed party of Californians, with a 
number of extra horses at S. Pascual, three leagues distant on a road leading 
to this place, I sent Lieut Hammond, 1st dragoons, to make a reconnoissance.' 
Geo. Pearce, one of the dragoons, still living in 1880, says in the Son. Co. Hist. , 
581-2, that he, Pearce, was sent by Kearny to summon Capt. Moore to an in- 
terview; that Moore opposed a reconnoissance, favoring an immediate attack; 
but his objections were overruled, and Hammond, Sergt Williams, and 10 
men were sent to reconnoitre. Pearce heard their report, 'that as they 
neared some Indian huts at...S. Pascual, the guide stopped them and 
called attention to a dim light in one of the huts, and told them that Pico and 
his men were occupying those huts; that Sergt Willams and the guide [the 
same native Californian who had reported at Warner's rancho] absolutely 
went to the door of the hut and saw a number of men sleeping, and a lone 
Indian sitting by the fire. They beckoned the Indian without the hut, and 
while conversing with him, a sentinel hailed the main party, and the whole 
detachment instantly retreated. . .As they retreated they distinctly heard the 
ahouts of the enemy "Biva California" !' 


ing with Captain Cota in watching and keeping sup- 
plies from the enemy, awaiting Flores' approach with 
the main force to assist Stockton's expected advance. 
He had perhaps taken 100 men, as ordered, from 
Angeles, but had lost many who absented themselves 
on one pretext or another, and had also picked up a 
few recruits, until his force, as nearly as can be ascer- 
tained, numbered about 80, most Californians making 
it considerably less. Of his movements, like those of 
Cota, nothing is known in detail until December 5th, 
when he was encamped at the Indian pueblo of San 
Pascual, where he had arrived that day, or possibly 
the day before. His purpose was to cut off the re- 
treat of Gillespie, whose departure from San Diego on 
the 3d was known, and whose mission was supposed 
to be to obtain cattle and horses. Pico had no ex- 
pectation when he went to San Pascual of meeting 
any but Gillespie's men; and Cota, or some of his 
subordinates, had been sent to cut off the Americans' 
retreat if by chance they should take another return 
route. Before night on the 5th the Indians brought 
in reports that a large force was approaching, and not 
far distant ; but as these reports were somewhat con- 
tradictory, and did not agree with wh^t was known of 
Gillespie's part}^, the only enemy whose presence was 
suspected, but little attention was paid to them, or 
even to messages from Coronel, describing the taking 
of his horses by a party coming from the east. So 
far as any reliance can be placed in the statements of 
his companions, Pico was inexcusably careless; and 
even sent away most of his horses to feed at a distance 
of several miles. It was a cold and rainy night. 
Between 11 o'clock and midnight the sentry was 
alarmed by the barking of a dog. To his *Quien 
vive?' no reply was given, but he thought he could 
see retreating forms; and a party sent out to recon- 
noitre found a blanket marked 'U. S.' and the trail 
of the enemy's scouts. Now the horses were sent for 
in all haste, and preparations for defence were made. 


though even then it could hardly be comprehended 
that thirty-five men on a raid for live-stock would 
venture on an attack by night. At early dawn, how- 
ever, on the 6th, the near approach of the Americans 
was announced; and hardly could the Californians 
mount their horses, lance in hand, before the advance 
guard of the foe was seen riding at full speed down 
the hill upon them.^^ 

Kearny had 160 men under his command at Santa 
Maria. The force of the enemy at San Pascual, ten 
miles distant, had been correctly reported, as is shown 
by Johnston's journal, at 80; but no certainty could 
be felt on this point. Hammond returned about 2 
A. M. from his reconnoissance, reporting that he had 
seen the camp of the enemy, and had been seen but 
not pursued by them. The call to horse was sounded 
without delay, and the army was soon on the march. 
The San Diego force had encamped at some distance 
from the general's camp, but all were reunited soon 
after the start. The order of march was as follows: 
Captain Johnston commanded an advanced guard of 
twelve dragoons mounted on the best horses ; close be- 
hind was General Kearny with lieutenants Emory 
and Warner of the engineers, and four or five of their 
men ; next came Captain Moore and Lieutenant Ham- 
mond with about fifty dragoons, mounted, many of 
them on mules, followed by captains Gillespie and 
Gibson with twenty volunteers of the California bat- 
talion; Lieutenant Davidson was next in the line, in 
charge of the two howitzers, with a few dragoons to 
manage the guns, which were drawn by mules; and 
finally, the rest of the force, between fifty and sixty 
men, brought up the rear under Major Swords, pro- 
tecting the baggage, and protected by Gillespie's field- 

^8 On these preparations, as on the following conflict, much information is 
derived from HayefC Miscellany, 38-40; Id., Emig. Notes, 400-2, being rem- 
iniscences of old Californians collected by Judge Hayes during an acquaint- 
ance of many years; Coronel, Cosas de CaL, MS., 115-19; Forster's Pioneer 
Data, MS., 37-42; Botello, Atmles, MS., 154-6; V^jar, Becuerdos, MS., 66- 
80; Moreno, Vida Militar, MS., 25-31; Palomares, Mem., MS., 88-95; Oaio, 
Hist. Cal, MS., 492-500. 


piece. It required more than the ardor of anticipated 
victory to make the march a tolerably comfortable 
one. The animals were either stiff and worn out by 
their long journey, or partially unbroken and unman- 
ageable; while the men's clothing was soaked by the 
niofht's drizzlino^ rain, and the cold was now intense. 
In the gray dawn of morning they drew near San 
Pascual; and as they came in sight of the Indian vil- 
lage and the enemy's camp, a charge was ordered by 
the general, and down the hill dashed Captain John- 
ston and his men at a gallop. 

It was no part of Californian cavalry tactics to 
stand still and receive a charge. Had Gillespie's forty 
men- come down upon them in a compact body, Pico's 
company would have retired at least far enough to 
find favorable ground for a countercharge; and had 
Kearny's force appeared in like manner — of whose 
presence Don Andres had as yet no knowledge — they 
would have retreated promptly to the hills to await 
an opportunity for a sudden dash or to content them- 
selves with harassing the foe and driving off his ani- 
mals. But seeing less than twenty horsemen coming 
down the hill, the Californians made a stand, dis- 
charged the few muskets and pistols they had, and 
with lances ready received the shock of the advancing 
dragoons. Captain Johnston received a musket-ball 
in the head and fell dead; a dragoon also fell, badly 
wounded. Of the very brief hand-to-hand conflict 
that ensued at the Indian village, naturally no par- 
ticipant has been able to give a clear account; and it 
is not known if there were any casualties beyond 
those mentioned. Overpowered by numbers and con- 
fused by the fall of their leader, the Americans perhaps 
fell back a very short distance after the first shock; 
but at that moment Kearny's main force appeared 
on the scene; and Pico's men fled. 

Filled with enthusiasm at the sight of the retreat- 
ing foe, the gallant Captain Moore called on his men 
to charge in pursuit, and was followed by all that had 


come up. Not all of Moore's and Gillespie's force 
had been able to do so ; but it seems hardly probable 
that enough of them had been kept back by their 
animals' lack of speed to justify Dr Griffin's opinion 
and that of Dunne that not more than fifty men saw 
the enemy. No order was observed in the pursuit; 
all rushed onward pell-mell, each urging his animal at 
full speed. Between the fleetest and freshest horses, 
however, and the slowest and most worn-out mules, 
there were many gradations of speed; and the efiect 
on the relative position of the different pursuers may be 
readily imagined. What were Pico's plans, if he had 
any, it is impossible to know; his movement has been 
called on the one hand a cowardly retreat, and on the 
other a deliberate trap for the Americans; I am in- 
clined to think it was neither, but rather the instinct- 
ive tactics of Californian warriors in favor of sudden 
dashes and short decisive conflict. However this may 
have been, after running half a mile, more or less, to 
ground more favorable for cavalry evolutions, and not- 
ing the line of pursuers extending with frequent and 
irregular intervals far to the rear, Don Andres sud- 
denly wheeled his column and rushed back to meet 
the Americanos. The conflict, though brief, was ter- 
rible. Kearny's men derived but slight benefit from 
their fire-arms, either because the rain had rendered 
them useless, or because most of them had been dis- 
charged at long range upon the flying foe. It was 
sabre against lance — sabres and clubbed guns in the 
hands of dragoons and volunteers mounted on stupid 
mules or half-broken horses against lances, the enemy's 
favorite weapons, in the hands of the world's most 
skilful horsemen. The Americans fought with des- 
perate valor against heavy odds and with fearful loss 
of life; and they stood their ground. For ten min- 
utes, perhaps less, the hand-to-hand conflict raged; 
and then, when the force of the assault had somewhat 
spent itself, and when the two howitzers had been 
brought up, the Californians again fled. This time 


the Americans were in no condition to pursue. The 
mules attached to one of the howitzers took fright, 
however, and dashed wildly after the enemy, who 
captured the gun and killed the man in charge of it. 
The battle of San Pascual, thd most famous and 
deadly in Californian history, was at an end. The 
Americans camped on the battle-field. Lieutenant 
Emory was sent back to bring up Major Swords* 
party, who were a mile in the rear, and had not been 
attacked; and he also recovered the body of Johnston 
at the village where the first fight occurred. Eigh- 
teen men had been killed in the fight; nineteen were 
wounded, three of them fatally; and one was missing.^^ 
Only one death and one wound were caused by fire- 
arms; but all the other dead and wounded had three 
lance-thrusts on an average in each body, some hav- 
ing ten. The dead were buried in the night under a 
willow-tree east of the camp; but the remains were 
subsequently removed to Old San Diego, where I saw 
rude boards in honor of their memory in 1874. John- 
ston was the first victim, as we have seen, being shot 
in the first charge. Moore fell early in the second 
charge, with a lance through the body, after a desper- 
ate resistance. Hammond is said to have received 
the thrust that caused his death in a few hours while 

^' There are some slight variations in different reports. Kearny says there 
were 18 killed and 16 wounded; Emory makes it 18 killed and 13 wounded. 
In tables contained in 31st Conrj. 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 24, p. 10, 28, the num- 
ber is given as 17 killed and \Q wounded. The best authority, however, is 
Griffin's quarterly report of Dec. 31st, of which I have the original blotter iu 
Griffi.n's Doc, MS., 4-5. In a letter of Feb. 14, 1847, the doctor puts the loss 
at 17 killed and 18 wounded. /(/., 22. In his Journal, p. 28, he makes it 18 
killed and 18 wounded, or 35 in all (?). The killed were : dragoons, Capt. Abra- 
ham R. Johnston, Capt. Benj. D, ^loore. Co. C, Wm C. West, corporal; 
privates Geo. Ashmead, Jos T. Campbell, John Dunlop, Wm Dalton, Wm 
C. Lucky, and Samuel F. RepoU. Co. K, Otis L. Moor, 1st sergeant; Wm 
Whitness, sergeant; Geo. Ramsdale, corporal; David W. Johnson, farrier; 
and privates Wm C. Gholston, Wm H. Fiel, and Robert S. Gregory. Henry 
Booker, or Baker (?), private Cal. battalion. Francois Menard, private top. 
engineers. Missing, and supposed to have been killed, Hugh McKaffray, Co. 
K, Ist dragoons. The wounded were: Lieut Thos C. Hammond, 1st drag., 
(lied Dec. 6th; Sergt John Cox, died Dec. 10th, at S. Bernardo; Jos B. 
Kennedy, priv. Co. C, died Dec. 21 st, at S. Diego; Gen. S. W. Kearny, Capt. 
Arch. Gillespie, Capt. Gibson, Lieut Wm H. Warner, Jos. Antonio Robi- 
doux, David Streeter; and 10 others slightly. 


trying to save Moore. Gillespie, a skilful swordsman, 
fought bravely, but was unhorsed and left for dead on 
the field with three lance-wounds in his body. War- 
ner also received three wounds; while Kearny escaped 
with two. Gibson of the battalion was slightly 
wounded, and Kobidoux, the guide, more seriously. 
Respecting the losses of the Californians at San Pas- 
cual there is no agreement of testimony. One man, 
Pablo V^jar, whose horse fell in the action, was made 
a prisoner, and there was perhaps another. About a 
dozen men were wounded, one or two perhaps serious- 
ly; but I think that none were killed.^^ 

Captain Turner assumed command in consequence 
of Kearny's wounds. The day was consumed in 
dressing wounds, and in making rude ambulances for 
the moving of the disabled. Alexis Godey, a man 
named Burgess, and one or two others were sent to 
San Diego with a letter to Stockton, asking for re- 
enforcements, for supplies, and for carts in which to 
carry the wounded. Stokes seems to have preceded 
Godey, starting before he knew the exact results of 
the battle. ''When night closed in," writes Emory, 

■•^"'Capt. Pico's report of Dec. 6th, received by Flore3at4A. m. on Dec. 7th, 
and by him communicated to subordinates, Janssens, Doc, MS., 45-6, says 
that the victory was gained 'without other casualty on our side than 11 
wounded, none seriously, since the action was decided dpura arma blanca.* 
Gen. Kearny says in his report: 'The number of their dead and wounded 
must have been considerable, though I have no means of ascertaining how 
many, as just previous to their final retreat they carried off all excepting six.* 
It is hard to resist the conclusion that the general deliberately misrepresents; 
for it is certain that no dead Californians were left on the field; and that no 
wounded fell into the hands of the Americans is proved by the fact that a lit- 
tle later, when Pico proposed an exchange of prisoners, Kearny had but one, 
V6jar, to exchange. Sergt Falls tells me that he and his party sent to search 
the field found one Californiau with a broken leg. Dr Griffin speaks of see- 
ing one man fall after a shot by Lieut Beale; he speaks of two prisoners; and 
says, 'I think the enemy must have suffered as much as w^e did.' He says 
that a little later he sent to Pico an offer to care for his wounded, but the 
capt. replied that he had none. Pablo V6jar says that one man, Francisco 
Lara, was killed and 12 were wounded, one of them, Casimiro Rubio, fatally. 
Several Californians speak of Lara's death; but in the Los Awjeles Hist., 24-8, 
Lara is said to have been wounded, captured, and to have had his leg am- 
putated at S. Diego, living for a long time at Angeles. Botello tells us that 
a Sonoran was wounded and died a little later of fright. Osio says a boy be- 
came frightened, was unable to run, and was killed. Judge Hayes, personally 
acquainted with the participants in the battle and their friends for many 
years, could never find evidence that any of Pico's men were killed. 


'*the bodies of the dead were buried under a willow 
to the east of the camp, with no other accompani- 
ment than the howling of myriads of wolves. Thus 
were put to rest together and forever a band of brave 
and heroic men. The long march of 2,000 miles had 
brought our little command, both officers and men, 
to know each other well. Community of hardships, 
dangers, and privations had produced relations of 
mutual regard which caused their loss to sink deep 
in our memory . . . Our position was defensible, but 
the ground covered with rocks and cacti made it dif- 
ficult to get a smooth place to rest, even for the 
wounded. The night was cold and damp; and sleep 
was impossible." The Californians were not far away, 
and keeping a close watch. Pico had reported to 
Flores that the defeated Americans were encamped 
and besieged on a little height near the battle-field 
without water; that he was waiting only for the ar- 
rival of the division under Cota and Hermosillo to 
attack them; and that not one could escape. And 
Flores replied, thanking Don Andres for his bril- 
liant service to the country, and promising a reen- 
forcement of 80 men, horses, and a field-piece.^^ 

Early on the 7th, Kearny having resumed command, 
his army, described by Emory as *'the most tattered 
and ill-fed detachment of men that ever the United 
States mustered under her colors," set out on its march 
down the valley, taking a route to the right, along 
the hills; while the Californians, whose pickets were 
part of the time in sight, retired in the same direc- 
tion, keeping to the left, nearer the dry bed of the 
stream. Late in the afternoon they reached the ran- 

'^ Capt. Turner's letter of Dec. 6th is given in Stockton'' s Mil. and Nav. Op. , 
27-8. Dec. 7th, Florjes to Janssens, with Pico's report. Janssens, Doc, MS., 
45-6. Dec. 7th, Flores to Pico, in Pico, Doc, MS., ii. 111-12. Pico claimed 
to have defeated 200 Americans, killed over 30, including Gillespie, and 
taken one of the enemy's two cannon, with a loss of only 11 slightly 
wounded. This sliowed considerably less exaggeration than Kearny's report 
written a week later, that he had defeated 160 Californians — the maximum 
force on paper of Pico's and Cota's men united — of whom 6 had been left on 
the field, the rest of the killed and wounded being carried away. 


cho of San Bernardo, deserted by all but a few Ind- 
ians, where they found, however, some chickens and 
cattle. Here they turned to the left, crossing the 
enemy's trail, and approached the river-bed in search 
of better feed for their animals ; but when they had 
advanced a mile and reached the foot of a detached 
hill, the enemy came upon them from the rear. We 
have no intelligible account of this skirmish of San 
Bernardo; but it would appear that after an exchange 
of shots at long range, the Americans, leaving their 
cattle, marched up the hill; that Pico's men started 
by a longer course to prevent the success of that 
movement; that a small party reached the summit 
on one side before the Americans who were ascend- 
ing from the other side; but that they promptly re- 
tired before the rifle-balls of Gibson's volunteers. At 
any rate, Kearny formed his camp on the hill; while 
Pico withdrew his force to a position across the creek.^^ 
It was apparent that an attempt to advance would 
almost certainly result in a loss of the wounded, and 
of the baggage, if not in further disaster; and it was 
resolved to remain for a time on the defensive. A 
small supply of water was obtained by digging, and 
some of the least emaciated mules were killed for food. 
Early on the 8th a man arrived from Pico's camp with 
a flag of truce, bringing sugar and tea, and a change 
of clothing sent by a friend for Gillespie, and a prop- 
osition to exchange four prisoners just captured. 

^'^ Kearny says: 'Reaching S. Bernardo, a party of them took possession 
of a hill near to it and maintained their position until attacked by our ad- 
vance, who quickly drove them from it, killing and wounding five of their 
number (!), with no loss on our part.' Emory says: 'A cloud of cavalry de- 
bouched from the hills in our rear, and a portion of them dashed at full speed 
to occupy a hill by which we must pass, while the remainder threatened 
our rear. Thirty or 40 of them got possession of the hill, and it was neces- 
sary to drive them from it. This was accomplished by a small party of 6 or 
8, upon whom the Calif omians discharged their fire; and strange to say, not 
one of our men fell. The capture of the hill was then but the work of a mo- 
ment, and when we reached the crest, the Califomians had mounted their 
horses and were in full flight . . . They had several badly wounded. ' Griffin re- 
marks: ' The enemy again appeared and made another rush to occupy a hill 
where they could annoy us. They got to the top about the time we got half- 
way up, when the fight commenced; but after two or three minutes the ras- 
cals ran, leaving 3 of their spears on the field.' 


There was but one Californian to be exchanged/and 
with him Emory proceeded to an interview with Pico. 
It was Godey's party that had been captured near San 
Bernardo on the return from San Diego, which place 
they had reached in safety. Burgess was the man ex- 
changed; the others were sent to Los Angeles. At 
night Beale, Carson, and an Indian volunteered to go 
to San Diego, a mission which they performed suc- 
cessfully.^^ On the 9th Sergeant Cox died from the 
effects of his wounds, and was buried. On the 10th, 
as the horses and mules were feeding at the foot of 
the hill, the Californians made a characteristic attempt 
to stampede the animals by driving upon them a band 
of wild horses, some of them with dry sheep-skins 
tied to their tails. By good luck and active exertion 
the success of this trick was prevented ; and it even 
proved an advantage, for one or two fat animals were 
shot for food. 

The wounded having improved in condition so that 
most of them could ride, and there being but little hope 
that Beale and Carson could reach San Diego and re- 
turn with reenforcements, Kearny decided to make a 
new start next day. An order had already been is- 
sued to destroy all property that could not be trans- 
ported.^* Before dawn on the 11th, however, reen- 
forcements made their appearance in the shape of 
about 200 marines and sailors under Lieutenant Gray, 
Stockton's aide-de-camp, who had left San Diego on 
the evening of the 9th on or before the arrival of 
Beale and Carson.^^ When the sun rose the enemy 

^ In Peters' Life of Kit Carson^ 290-6, is an account of their adventures 
on the way, adopted by Lancey, Cruise, 143. Carson's account of the whole 
S. Pascual campaign as given in Peters' work, p. 278-96, is grossly inaccurate. 
It is said by this authority and others that Lieut Beale from his excitement 
and exposure became mentally deranged for a time. 

2* Dec. 9th, order signed by Capt. Turner, a. a. a. general, in Griffin's 
Doc, MS., 3. 

25 Stockton, Report, 45, tells us that he first heard of Kearny's defeat, with 
no particulars, from Stokes in the evening of Dec. 6th. Next morning, Dec. 
7th, Godey and his companions arrived with a letter from Capt. Turner (given 
in Lancey s Cruise, 142). Preparations were made to march with all the force 
that could be spared; and the advance under Lieut Guest was ordered to march 
to the mission. Preparations seem to have proceeded somewhat slowly; for 


had disappeared, leaving the cattle at San Bernardo. 
This sudden disappearance, and the fact that they were 
seen no more, cannot be entirely accounted for by the 
aid of any records extant; not even by the supposition 
of Emory that *^our night attack had filled them with 
the unnecessary fear of being surprised" by the ma- 
rines and sailors! Pico's force had been increased to 
about 150 by the arrival of Cota's company; and Ra- 
mon Carrillo with 50 men, leaving Angeles at 4 p. m. 
on the 10th, had perhaps arrived before Kearny's de- 
parture.^^ That no attack was made on Kearny's 
camp is easily understood; the Californians had a par- 
donable aversion to charging on horseback up a hill 
to meet cannon-balls and rifle-bullets. They had hoped 
that Kearny might be kept cut off from communication 
with Stockton until forced to surrender or to expose 
himself to renewed attack by resuming his march. 
The arrival of Gray's company removed all chance of 
successful attack upon the Americans, if they were 
prudent enough to march in compact order. But 
Pico's policy naturally, and in accordance with general 
orders, would have been to . hover about the enemy, 
seeking opportunities to annoy him, driving off his 
animals, and otherwise impeding his march. Yet, 
upon learning Gray's approach, he simply withdrew, 
reporting to Flores that Kearny had received reen- 
forcements and marched for San Diego, he being un- 
able to prevent it for want of horses I And Flores 
thereupon ordered him to leave his own and Carrillo's 
men to act as scouts in the south, and with Cota's 

before the advance started an Indian arrived (night of the 8th or morning 
of the 9th) with reports indicating that Kearny's need of assistance was more 
urgent than had been supposed. Therefore it was decided to send only a part 
of the force for rapid movement. At 10 p. m. (of the 9th) Beale arrived and 
confirmed the worst reports; and Lieut Gray with 215 men was sent to Kear- 
ny's relief. Emory makes Gray's force ' 100 tars and 80 marines.' Griffin 
says there were 120 marines and 80 sailors. 

2« Dec. 10th, Flores to Pico, in reply to letter of the 8th. Has been delayed 
for want of horses; but sends Carrillo, and will follow himself to-morrow. 
Pico must not relax the siege. Nothing is to be feared from S. Diego; for the 
captured despatch of Stockton, a translation of which is enclosed, says it is 
impossible to send aid. PicOf Doc, MS., ii. 115. 


company to march to Los Angeles — an order which 
Don Andres obeyed before it was received, and more 
than obeyed, since he retired with two companies, 
leaving but one. This was not a brilliant ending for 
the campaign ; and it is not unlikely that the disaffec- 
tion accompanying the late revolt against the governor 
had much to do with it.^^ 

At 10 A. M., December 1 1th, Kearny's army marched 
from the hill camp of San Bernardo, and proceeded 
unmolested down the valley. The camp for the night 
was Alvarado's rancho of Penasquitos, where, and at 
other points along the way, they found considerable 
quantities of cattle, sheep, and poultry, all confiscated 
as belonging to enemies. At about 4 p. m. on the 12th, 
they marched into San Diego, where they were hos- 
pitably received by Stockton and by the inhabitants 


"Dec. 15th, Flores to Pico, on receipt of his report of the 11th. The 
want of horses has been a serious drawback all along. Owners keep them 
hidden, but it is noticeable that they are readily enough found for the enemy. 
It is reported that more U. S. troops are coming from New Mexico, and scouts 
have been sent to the Colorado. Pico is to recruit his horses in the Sta Ana 
region. Cota and Hermosillo with their men and the captured gun will come 
to the city. Pico, Doc, MS., ii. 119-23. It seems that Pico left San Luis 
Rey and went to Sta Ana with his force before receiving Flores' order, leav- 
ing Cota's company in the south. Cota on the 14th asked to be relieved; 
and Flores on the 17th, in reply, complained bitterly of Pico's disobedience, 
and of the general indifference and insubordination of oflficers and men. The 
order to Pico has been repeated, and if disobeyed Cota may abandon the 
south. If the Californians do not care to defend their country, he will not 
be responsible. Id., 127-9; OLvera, Doc, MS., 60-3. 

^ I have described the S. Pascual campaign from information derived from 
all existing sources, the original authorities having been cited on previous 
pages, notably in notes 11 and 18. I add the following items, which could 
not conveniently be introduced in my text. Emory says: * We subsequently 
received authentic accounts that Pico's number was 180 men engaged in the 
light, and that 100 additional men were sent him from the pueblo, who reached 
his camp on the 7th'! Griifin affirms that Burgess reported Stockton to have 
refused to send reenforcements, and on this account Kearny wished to move 
at once; but the navy officers pledged themselves very strongly that the com- 
modore would send relief. It should be noted that Kearny's report and 
Emory's notes are accompanied by a plan of the battle, which has been sev- 
eral times reprinted in other works. Items from llayes' Miscellany, and Id., 
Emig. Notes; some of them also published in Los Angeles Hist.: Capt. Moore 
was killed by Leandro Osuna. Gillespie was lanced and unhorsed by Fran- 
cisco Higuera, or 'El Giiero.* Gabriel Garcia killed the man in charge of the 
howitzer. Juan Lobo and J. B. Moreno were conspicuous in the fight. 
Philip Crossthwaite saved the life of V^jar, the prisoner whom one of the 
Delaware Indians (?) was about to kill. Jos<5 Ant. Serrano claims to have 
left the field while the fight was raging, and to have found Pico, Cota, and 
Tomito Sanciiez safely out of danger on Soto Hill! Foster, Avgcles in 1847 ^ 


It is difficult to regard the affair of San Pascual 
otherwise than as a stupid blunder on the part of 
Kearny, or to resist the conclusion that the official 
report of the so-called 'victory' was a deliberate mis- 
representation of facts. True, the Americans remained 
in possession of the battle-field; but this fact by no 

MS., 8-10, relates what others confirm, that Higuera would have killed Gil- 
lespie if he had not been in so much of a hurry to get away with his fine 
saddle and bridle. He later ofiered to return the articles, but Gillespie de- 
clined to receive them, as their loss had saved his life. Wm H. Dunne, 
Notes on S. Pascual^ MS., remarks that Stokes was in the fight and died soon 
after from fright and exposure on the way to S. Diego; the officers were full 
of wine during the fight; the men regarded the fight as a stupid and criminal 
affair on the officers' part; Emory showed great gallantry on the taking of 
Mule Hill; Kit Carson was thrown from his horse and had his rifle broken. 
In the Alta, Nov. 14, 1868, Gillespie refutes with much indignation the state- 
ment of *C. E. P.' (Chas E. Pickett), in the same paper, that the Americans 
were under the influence of wine. Emory in a letter of March 15, 1847, to 
the N. Y. Courier and Enquirer, tries to refute the insinuation in the Monterey 
Calif ornian, Jan. 28, 1847, that discredit was thrown on the American arms 
by the action of S. Pascual. Niles' Reg., Ixxiii. 205. Jan. 22, 1847, Larkin 
briefly describes the battle in a letter to Vallejo. Vallejo, Doc., MS., i. 22. 
The campaign of S. Pascual has been frequently described at second- 
hand in books and newspapers. Brackett, Hist, U. S. Cavalry, 71-6, gives 
a very good general account. Phelps, Fore and Aft, 314-15, talked with 
Pico a few weeks after the battle, and was told that he had not intended to 
risk a fight; but that on seeing the disorder of Kearny's men he could not re- 
sist the temptation. Pico also told Botello, Anales del Sur, MS., 154-G, 
that his charge was a pure accident. Bowen, Statement on S. Pascual, MS., 
says : ' They proved to be about 400, and they killed all of us but 32 or 33. We 
were all wounded more or less.' Streeter, Recoil., MS., 95-9, gives a narra- 
tive derived from the statement of David Streeter, his cousin and one of the 
wounded dragoons. John A. Swan, in S. Jos6 Pioneer, April 27, 1878, 
names Henry Booker as the man in charge of the howitzer. He was perhaps 
the man who had brought news of the Bear Flag revolt to Monterey, in 
June. Bidwell, Cal. in I84I-8, MS., 199-204, who was at S. Diego at the 
time, adds nothing to the general accounts. In the life of Stockton, p. 135, it 
is declared that the disaster was much more serious than represented in 
Kearny's report. An account credited to A. A. Hecox, in the Sta Cruz 
Times, Aug. 27, 1876, is perhaps as inaccurate as any extant: unless indeed it 
be excelled in that respect by that of Wm H. Davis, Glimpses of the Past, 
MS., 361-5, a writer who on many points is one of the most careful and accu- 
rate of all who have recorded their recollections. Lancey , Cruise, 138-47, gives 
a complete account from the official reports and journals, but he intersperses 
fragments from unreliable sources. He speaks of Juan Andado (?), who lost 
a leg carried away by a 6-lb. ball. Lieut llhuson (Rheusaw?) and Sergt Jones, 
of the battalion, distinguished themselves at S. Bernardo. Gillespie in the 
Alta, July 3, 1866, followed by Lancey, says the 'Sutter' gun was kept 
back with the baggage, against liis protest; that a howitzer was fired by him, 
holding the foe in check until the field-piete was brought up and drove them 
back; and that at S. Bernardo the gun killed several of the enemy. It is, 
however, pretty certain that no cannon was fired at S. Pascual; and there is 
no evidence beyond this statement of Gillespie that any was fired at San Ber- 
nardo. An account in the Chihuahua Farol, Aug. 10, 1846, and the Sonorense 
of Aug, 20th, has it that Kearny was killed and that his men shamefully 
capitulated ! 

Hist. Cal., Vol. V. 23 


means sufficed to make of defeat a victory, since the 
enemy uninjured was free to occupy any one of a dozen 
equally defensible positions on the way to San Diego. 
There was no reason for the attack on Pico's forces; 
and even a bloodless triumph could have done the 
enemy's cause but slight harm. Entering California 
with but a small part of his original force, after a long 
and tedious march, men and animals exhausted, Kearny 
finds the country in revolt. Instead of joining Stock- 
ton, which he might have done without risk or oppo- 
sition, and proceeding as commander-in-chief to devise 
means for completing the conquest, he attempts a night 
attack upon an unknown force of mounted Californians, 
knowing that the alarm had been given, and that sur- 
prise was impossible. Coming in sight of the enemy, 
he orders a charge, and permits a part of his men, be- 
numbed with cold, their fire-arms wet and useless, their 
sabres rusted fast in the scabbards, mounted on stupid 
worn-out mules and half-broken horses, to rush in 
confusion upon the Californian lances, presenting a 
temptation to slaughter which the enemy — even if they 
areas cowardly as their assailants believe — cannot re- 
sist. Individually, the Americans fight most bravely : 
nothing more can be said in praise. Many lives are 
recklessly and uselessly sacrificed. An irresponsible 
guerrillero chief would be disgraced by such an attack 
on Indians armed with bows and arrows; but Kearny 
was a brigadier-general commanding regular troops 
of the United States. Success would have brought 
him no glory; defeat should have brought him dis- 
grace. It does not appear that any of his officers op- 
posed the general's plans. It has been said that all 
were under the influence of wine; fortunately — for the 
reputation of California wine, fiery liquid though it 
may have been in its primitive stages of development 
— this theory is but slightly supported by the evidence. 
Stockton suggested the attack; but we may charitably 
suppose that he did not realize the condition of Kear- 
ny's force ; and he certainly is to no extent responsible 


for the criminally blundering manner in which his 
suggestion was followed. It is noticeable that Stock- 
ton was slow to respond to Kearny's appeal for aid 
after the disaster; even refusing at first to send reen- 
forcements, if we may credit the statement of Bur- 
gess, and the letter which fell into Pico's hands. Too 
little is known, however, on this point to make it the 
ground of unfavorable criticism. 

Of Governor Flores' operations, and those of his 
subordinates in and about the capital, after the San 
Pascual campaign and until the end of December, 
there is nothing to be said, except that those operations 
consisted of rather feeble preparations to resist the in- 
vader, not without certain petty bickerings and jeal- 
ousies among the officers. The Californian cause had 
decidedly lost strength during the past few weeks. 
The effect of military success at Angeles, Chino, San 
Pedro, Natividad, and San Pascual had been more 
than neutrahzed by internal feuds and jealousies show- 
ing the weakness of the new government. It was 
wellnigh impossible to obtain supplies. The ranch eros 
concealed their horses to prevent their seizure. There 
was no powder except the poor stuff made at San Ga- 
briel. The Americans were reported to be advancing 
from the north and east, as well as preparing for an 
attack from the south. Men of the better class were 
convinced by reflection that there was no hope of suc- 
cessful resistance; and not a few were already devis- 
ing schemes for securing pardon and protection from 
the foe when the collapse should come. At the end 
of the year it was the general opinion, sustained by 
the acts of the military chiefs, that the first conflict 
was to be with Fremont rather than with Stockton. 

At San Diego Kearny's arrival with his wounded 
dragoons and worn-out animals did not hasten but 
rather retarded preparations for beginning the cam- 
paign. The wounds healed favorably, except those 
of Streeter, sixteen in number, and of Kennedy, who 


had five in the brain, and died. Captain Hensley re- 
turned from his raid across the frontier and brought 
a large number of cattle and horses, the latter in poor 
condition. Vegetables and bread were scarce; and 
the men were reduced to short rations of everything 
but fresh meat. Major Swords was sent to Honolulu 
on a trading vessel chartered for the trip in quest of 
supplies. The Portsmouth and Cyane arrived to join 
the Congress. The men were constantly drilled for 
land evolutions; and the marines and sailors are said 
to have executed on their broncos several movements 
not laid down in any authority on cavalry tactics. 
Relations between the general and commodore were 
ostensibly amicable. Meanwhile small parties of Cal- 
ifornians came in from day to day, including some 
even of those who had been at San Pascual, to give 
themselves up, and receive assurances of protection. 
They brought all kinds of rumors about the where- 
abouts and plans of Flores and of Fremont. The only 
news at the same time exciting and true was that of 
the killing of ten gente de razon at the Pauma rancho 
by Indians. On December 29th all was at last ready, 
and the Americans, 600 strong, with Kearny in com- 
mand of the troops under Stockton as commander-in- 
chief, started on the march to Los Angeles. More 
will be said of this army in the next chapter, when I 
come to speak of its achievements. Progress was 
slow and uneventful. The first camp was at Soledad ; 
the second at Pefiasquitos ; and on the last day of 1 846 
they encamped near San Bernardo, where Kearny's 
men had been besieged so recently.^ 

^Griffiji's Journal, MS., 33-44; and Id., in Hayes' Emig. Notes, 379, is the 
chief source of information on the last days of the stay at S. Diego. See also 
Emory^s Notes, 113-16; Stockton'' s Report, 45-6; Swords' report in <?0i A Co?^//. 
2d Sess., II. Ex. Doc. 1, p. 226-7; Hayes' MisceL, 27-9; Davis' Glimpses, MS., 
368-70; BidweWs Cal. I84I-S, MS., 204. Some matters connected with the 
relations between Stockton and Keamy may be noticed more conveniently else- 
where. In the Los Angeles Hist., ,33, it is related that Juan Bandini and his 
family came up from Baja California with Hensley; and that on the way his 
daughters made an elegant U. S. flag for the troops — the first ever made in 
California— for which the young ladies were serenaded, and thanked by tho 
commodore in person. 



November, 1846 — January, 1847. 

Fremont's California Battalion — Official Plunder of the Rancheros 
— Successful Recruiting — Indian Allies — Organization and List 
OF Officers — Manuel Castro and Other Officers Break Paroles 
and Join Flores— From San Luis to the Salinas — Burroughs and 
Thompson at San Juan — Capture of Larkin — Americans at Los 
Verjeles — Approach of the Californians — Fight at Encinalito — 
Foster Killed — Battle of Natividad — Death of Burroughs — 
Losses — Castro's Retreat — March of Fremont's Battalion from 
San Juan to Santa Barbara — Condemnation and Pardon of Jesus 
Pico — Disastrous Crossing of the Cuesta de Santa Ines — More 
Forced Contributions — Sanchez's Revolt — Alarm at the Pueblo — 
Marston's Expedition — Campaign of Santa Clara — End of War 
IN North — Loss of the 'Warren's' Launch — Wreck or Murder. 

It has been recorded that Fremont, with about 160 
men of the battaHon, sailed for the south in the Ster- 
ling to cooperate with Stockton against the southern 
CaUfornians,but having met the VandaUa,Sind learned 
not only of .Mervine's disaster, but that no horses 
could be obtained at Santa Bd-rbara or San Pedro, he 
resolved to return for reenforcements and animals, and 
to advance on Los Angeles from the north by land. 
The vessel was becalmed on approaching Monterey; 
but a few officers were sent ashore October 24th, and 
on the 28th Fremont and his men landed from the 
Sterling. I append a few items of chronologic hap- 
penings at Monterey in these days, as an aid to the 
reader in following the subsequent record.^ 

' From Colton^s Three Years; Monterey Cali/ornian; and Bryant's What I 
Saw; repeated by Lancey and many other writers. Oct. 24th, boat from the 
Sterling. Oct. 27th, Malek Adhel, a prize brig taken by the Warren at Maza- 

( 357 ) 


Officers were at once despatched in all directions by 
Lieutenant-colonel Fremont, for he found this new com- 
mission awaiting him at Monterey, with orders to en- 
list recruits for the battalion, and above all to obtain 
the largest possible number of horses in the shortest 
possible time. How they were obtained did not much 
matter, for the necessity was urgent. Receipts were 
given, to be settled by the government after the end 
of the war; friends of the cause were treated with 
some courteous formalities, if they turned over their 
animals without delay; while the lukewarm or hostile 
were plundered without ceremony of all their property 
that could be utilized. The commander cannot be 
blamed for the proceeding; but doubtless much bitter 
feeling was provoked, and justly, by the arbitrary 
methods employed by most of his agents.^ The United 

tlan, arrived under Lieut W. B. Renshaw. Oct. 28th, the Sterlinr/ arrived 
with Fremont. Capt. Maddox had gone to S. Juan with 30 men. Oct. 29th, 
Maddox returned with a brass field-piece. Large number of Califomians 
reported in the hills, perhaps intending to attack Monterey. Oct. 30th, a 
man guarding Fremont's horses shot by two Califomians. Oct. 31st, enlist- 
ments actively going on among newly arrived immigrants, by efforts of Mont- 
gomery in the north. Nov. 5th, second rain of season. Nov. 9th, Talbot 
and his men from Sta Bdrbara arrived. Nov. 12th, Grigsby arrived from So- 
noma with 30 men and CO horses. Hastings expected from S. Josd with 60 
men and 120 horses. Nov. 14th, the Savannah arrived with news from S. 
Diego. Nov. 16th, Delaware scout arrived with news of a fight between 
Americans and Califomians; also capture of Larkin. Nov. 17th, Fremont 
with his 300 men left Monterey for S. Juan. Nov. 27th, prize brig Julia, 
Lieut Selden, arrived from S. Francisco with news that a force had been sent 
to protect S. Jos6. Dec. 1st, seven prisoners escaped from jail. Dec. 2d-8th, 
etc. , county deemed unsafe out of town. Dec. 17th, the Julia sailed for south. 
Dec. 22d, news of Bartlett's capture at S. F. ; forces sent to tS. Jos6. Dec. 
30th, the Dale arrived with a large mail. 

'Nov. 1st, all eflScient horses but 3 taken from Fitch's ranch o, 29 in num- 
ber, worth 3730. Fitch, Doc, MS., 406, 422. Many mistakes, with harsh and 
arbitrary measures, provoking much angry feeling, llyde^s Statement, MS., 3. 
* Every one who can raise among the emigrants 30 or 40 men becomes a cap- 
tain and starts off to fight pretty much on his own hook. Nor is he very 
scrupulous as to the mode in which he obtains his horses, saddles, etc. He 
takes them wherever he can find them, and very often without leaving behind 
the slightest evidence by which the owner can recover the value of his prop- 
erty. He plunders the Californian to procure the means of fighting him. 
Public exigency is the plea which is made to cover all the ciilpable features in 
the transaction. This may justify, perhaps, taking the property, but it can 
never excuse the refusal or neglect to give receipts. It is due to Stockton and 
Fremont to say that this has been done without their sanction. Still it re- 
flects reproach on our cause, and is a source of vast irritation in the commu- 
nity. No man who has any possible means of redress left will tamely submit 
to such outrages; and yet we expect the Califomians to hug this chain of deg- 
radation, and help to rivet its links.' Cotton's Three Years, 158. All Amesti's 


States finally assumed the obligation, as we shall see, 
to pay these 'California claims;' and while many 
rancheros received no compensation, others were paid 
for property that they had never lost. Such are the 
fortunes of war. It is not possible to form a connected 
narrative of the operations by which supplies and re- 
cruits were gained, for no official report was ever made 
on the subject; but Fremont's efforts were very suc- 
cessful, and within a month over 200 recruits were ob- 
tained for the battalion. Many immigrants had lately 
arrived at New Helvetia, and were ready to enlist for 
the war at twenty-five dollars per month. Bryant, 
Jacob, Grayson, and Lippincott were active in enlist- 
ing the new-comers; and they also raised a company 
of Walla Walla and native Californian Indians for the 
service, known as the spies, or more commonly as the 
'forty thieves.' A company of Indians was also formed 
to serve at New Helvetia under Kern and Sutter, 
thus releasing the old garrison for service in the south. 
Captain Hastings had come back to California, and 
entered with much zeal into the congenial work, rais- 
ing a company of 60 or 80 men in the central region. 
Captain Grigsby came down to Monterey with his 
Sonoma garrison of Bear Flag men. Louis McLane 
exerted himself with much success to organize an ef- 
fective artillery company, for which several field-pieces 
were found.^ 

horses, saddles, and blankets taken without receipts. He then started with 
his family for another rancho in an ox-cart; but was met by Capt. Sears' men, 
who took the oxen and left the family in the road, Vallejo, Hist. Gal., MS., 
V. 182-3; Pinto, Apunt., MS., 104-5. Alcalde Chabolla of San Juan was 
beaten for refusing to give up his saddle. Weeks' Remin., MS., 117. All Ger- 
man's horses were taken, 100 in number; but he went to Monterey to see Fre- 
mont, who gave him back a horse and mule, and also some money. G. had 
tried to save 11 fine horses by concealing them, but a neighbor pointed them 
out. German, Sucesos, MS., 13-15; Amador, Mem. , MS., 172-3, gives some 
details of the process of plundering. Most of the rancheros were left without 
horses for their work. See also Cooke's Conq., 218-20. Weber's raids for 
horses are described in S. Jos6 Pioneer, March 6, 1880; Lanccy's Cruise, 191- 
2; Tinkham's Hist. Stockton, 103-4; with some correspondence found also in 
Halleck's Mex. Land Laws, MS. Howard and Melius on complaint to Mont- 
gomery got a permit to retain such horses as were necessary for their business. 
In the Eureka West Coast Signal, Dec. 20, 1876, I find a burlesque narrative of 
Fremont's coming in person to Sonoma to get Vallejo's horses. 

^Bryant's What I Saw and Golton's Three Fears contain much information 


It was a motley army in respect of race, language, 
weapons, and especially uniform; but it would have 
proved a most formidable and effective one against 
any foe existing in California. It contained many 
lawless, ignorant, and unprincipled men; but there 
was also a strong element of intelligent and brave 
Americans, thoroughly in earnest, and skilled rifle- 
men; while the leaders were well fitted by character 
and experience to discipline and control such a force. 
The different parts of the battalion were reunited at 
San Juan, after some stirring events to be noticed 
presently, late in November. The whole force at 
that time, according to Bryant, who was an officer 
present at the time, was 428 men. No muster-rolls 
were sent to Washington; and none have been pre- 
served so far as I know, though I have some partial 
lists mentioned in a note, and utilized in my biograph- 
ical sketches. According to the official report, when 
the force was mustered out in April 1847 the total 
number of men enlisted had been 475 mounted rifle- 
men and 41 artillerymen, in ten companies.* I append 
in a note the organization of the battalion into com- 
panies, with a full list of officers.^ 

which has been widely copied. See also Fr^monfs Cal. Claims; Honolulu 
Friend, iv. 190; TuthilVs Hist. Cal, 200-3; and Lancey's Cruise. Sutter, 
Person. Bemin., MS., 153-4, says that he, at Fremont's request through Rus- 
sell, organized the Walla Walla company under a Canadian named Gendreau; 
also a company of reformed horse-thieves from the Mokelumne and Stanislaus 
under Jos6 Jesus. Nov. 9th, Larkin writes to his wife of Fremont's rapid 
progress. He will have 400 to 450 men. Some fear that after his force de- 
parts Monterey may be attacked. Larkin' s Doc, MS., iv. 320. Sutter says 
F. had officers who could not sign their names. Many 'que ni conocian la o 
por lo redondo. ' A Ivarado, Hist. Cal. , MS. , v. 234. 

*31st Cong. 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 24, p. 22 h. 

^Official list in Fr&inoni's Cal. Claims, 61-3; with corrections from Brack- 
etVs List, MS.; Bryant's What I Saw, 365-8; Swasey^s Cal., MS., 19; and 
other sources. John C. Frdmont, lieut-col. commanding battalion (lieut-col. 
in U. S. A.) Archibald H. Gillespie, major (1st lieut U. S. marines). 
Pearson B. Reading, paymaster. Henry King, commissary (capt.) Jacob 
R. Snyder, quartermaster (called maj.) Wm H. Russell, ordnance officer 
(maj.) Theodore Talbot, adjutant (lieut). John J. Myers, sergeant- maj. 
and later lieut. Detached officers serving in south and elsewhere: captains, 
Samuel J. Hensley, Samuel Gibson, Santiago E. Argiiello, Miguel Pedrorena, 
Charles Burroughs (killed before the battalion went south). Bell, and Wm A. 
T. Maddox (2d lieut U. S. N.) First lieutenants, Hiram Rheusaw, James H. 
Barton, Edward M. Kern (at Sutter's Fort), Luis Argiiello, Benj. D. Wilson, 
Felipe Butron (?), Montgomery Martin, and Alexis Godey. Second lieut, 


On hearing of Flores' revolution, Manuel Castro 
and several other officers left Monterey, breaking 
their paroles, and made haste to offer their services 
to the new general, who on October 23d appointed 
Castro commandant of military operations in the 

Andrew J. Grayson. Quartermaster, John Bid well (capt.) Among offi- 
cers signing a receipt for pay are Ed Gilchrist, surgeon, and Geo. Waldo, 
rank not mentioned. 

Company A, composed chiefly of Fremont's original explorers. Richard 
Owens, capt.; Wm N. Loker, 1st lieut (adjutant later); Benj. M. Hudspeth, 
2d lieut (capt. later); Wm Findlay, 2d lieut (capt. later). Co. B, Henry L. 
Ford, capt.; Andrew Copeland, 1st lieut. Co. C, Granville P. Swift, capt.; 
Wm Baldridge, 1st lieut; Wm Hargrave, 2d lieut. Co. D, John Sears, 
capt.; Wm Bradshaw, 1st lieut. Co. E, originally Co. C, or 3d co. of the 
organization at Sonoma in July. List of members extant, see below. John 
Grigsby, capt.; Archer (or Archibald) C. Jesse, 1st lieut; David T. Bird, 2d 
lieut. Co. F, Lansford W. Hastings, capt.; M. M. Wambough, 1st lieut; 
James M. Hudspeth, 2d lieut. List of members probably extant. Co. G, 
Bluford K. Thompson, capt.; D. A. Davis, 1st lieut; James Rock, 2d lieut. 
Partial list of members, see below. Co. H, composed mainly of Walla 
Walla and Cal. Indians. Richard T. Jacob, capt.; Edwin Bryant, 1st lieut; 
Benj. S. (also called Geo. M.) Lippincott, 2d lieut, acting asst quarter- 
master in Jan. Artill. Co. A, Louis McLane, capt., major later (lieut U. S. 
N.); John K. Wilson, 1st lieut, later capt. (midshipman U. S. N.); Wm 
Blackburn, 2d lieut. Artill. Co. B, apparently organized after the battalion 
went south. First lieut A. Girard in command. Muster-roll of 28 names 

In Grigshifs Papers, MS., 6-7, 11, 13-14, I find a compact of 33 men of 
Co. E, dated Oct. 29th at Sonoma, to serve under Fremont; also list of 33 
names (4 new ones being substituted for 4 of the old), with dates of enlistment 
from Oct. 4th to Nov. 14th, chiefly at Sonoma. Horace Sanders, orderly 
sergeant. In Cd. Pioneer Soc, Arch., MS., 35, I find a list of 57 privates 
and 12 officers, without reference to companies, who acknowledge receipt of 
pay. In Id., 45, is a muster-roll of Girard 's company of artillery, 28 names, 
enlistments July to Nov., dated March 25, 1847. In Id., 101-3, is a contract 
between Fremont and 71 men, dated at San Juan, Nov. 20th, enlistments 
from different dates of Oct. and Nov. This would seem to be Hastings' Co. F, 
since Hudspeth and Wambough appear among the names. In Id., 209-10, is 
a similar contract with 31 men of the San Jos6 company (Thompson's Co. G). 
Enlistments for 3 months from Nov. 20th. In Id., 211-12, is similar contract, 
dated Monterey, Nov. 10th and 28th, enlistments from different dates of 
Sept. -Nov., with 20 men of Co. B (Ford's), 4 of Co. A, and 3, company not 
specified. C. P. Briggs, in Napa Eeporter, Sept. 7, 1872, says that Fremont 
wished to break up Thompson's company to fill up the ranks of the others; 
but Thompson protested, and after much trouble his men were organized into 
a separate company. T. had been Weber's lieutenant at S. Jos6; and there 
are indications that W. declined to join the battalion with his men, from dis- 
like of Fremont. In McKinstry's Papers, MS., 20-3, is a pay-roll of 50 Indian 
soldiers of the New Helvetia garrison, Lieut J. A. Sutter, certified by Lieut. 
Kern. Nov. 9th to Feb. 26th, pay of troopers $12.50 per month; infantry, 
$6; lieut, $50. Thus we have approximately complete lists for companies B, 
E, F, G, and Girard's artillery, about 190 names. For most members of Co. 
A, see list of Fremont's explorers in vol. iv,, p. 583, of this work. The names 
of the Indians in company H, are of no special importance. For companies 
C and D, and McLane's artillery, we have no lists; but many additional 
names will be found, as well as all those referred to in this note, in my bio- 
graphical sketches of pioneers. 


north, with headquarters at San Luis Obispo. His 
instructions were to enlist with or without their con- 
sent all capable of bearing arms, and to seize all mu- 
nitions of war wherever they could be found. Horses 
and other supplies were also to be taken as found and 
needed, though preferably from foreigners who had 
favored the invaders. Powder and horses w^ould be 
sent from the south if possible. Francisco Rico was 
named as second in command; and Jesus Pico, coman- 
dante at San Luis, was ordered to put himself and 
men at the orders of the northern chief The policy 
to be followed as in the south was that of harassing 
the foe by a guerrilla warfare, cutting off supplies^ 
preventing communication, stampeding horses, and 
watching for opportunities to attack advantageously. 
Arriving at San Luis early in November, Don Ma- 
nuel set himself to work, and with the cooperation of 
Rico, Pico, the brothers Joaquin and Gabriel de la 
Torre, Jose Antonio Chavez, and others, he soon raised 
a force of about 100 men, many of whom became 
soldiers unwillingly. Castro's quest for supplies was 
similar in methods to that of Fremont in the north, 
but was less successful, since the prospect of payment 
was deemed less favorable; though a stirring appeal 
from the prefect-commander was issued to Californian 
patriots the 7th of November. The same day he re- 
ported to Flores what had been accomplished. The 
horses were in bad condition; the men had few and 
poor weapons ; and there was no powder to speak of; 
yet he hoped to take some powder from the foe, and 
he intended to march for the north two days later. 
He probably did start on the 9th or 10th, and two or 
three days later, his force being increased to 125 or 
130 on the way, he reached the Salinas River in the 
region of Soledad. Pilarcitos, Tucho, and half a 
dozen other places are named in different narratives 
as the sites of military camps in these days, all in the 
►Salinas Valley below Soledad. The plan of the Cali- 
fornians was to capture as many as possible of Frd- 


mont's horses, and thus keeep the battaHon from aid- 
ing Stockton in the south.^ 

Meanwhile all was quiet at Monterey, but for the 
bustle of Fremont's preparations. Several of the pa- 
roled officers, like Juan B. Alvarado and the Estradas, 
were keeping their pledges; while Pablo de la Guerra 
and perhaps a few others were put under arrest in 
consequence of news from the south.^ On November 
4th it was reported that one of the Torres had re- 
cently gone south with 30 men and 200 horses, caus- 
ing much loss to farmers between Monterey and San 
Luis.® We are told also that several men of the 
Monterey district, with a knowledge of Castro's move- 
ments, were secretly active in collecting arms and am- 
munition, with a view to cooperate with the approach- 
ing force ;^ but if this was true, their operations were 
not suspected. There were some fears of possible 
hostilities at the end of October; but it was believed 
that the return of the battalion had removed all 
grounds of anxiety. Meanwhile the work of mili- 
tary reorganization was going on actively, and recruits 
were coming from all directions to swell the force. 

On Sunday, the 15th of November, Captain Charles 
Burroughs, a newly arrived immigrant who had taken 

*Oct. 23d, Flores to Castro. Appointment and instructions. Castro, 
Doc, MS., ii. 147. Oct. 30th, J. J. Pico to Castro from S. Luis. £>oc. Hist. 
Cal.y MS., iii. 266. Nov. 7th, Castro's report to Flores. Fernandez, Doc, 
MS., 15. Nov. 7 th, Castro's procl. and appeal to Calif ornians. Doc. Hist. Gal., 
MS., iii. 274. In Castro's Servicios, MS., a report of 1847, we have a general 
account of the prefect's plans and operations during this campaign. The 
author attempts no explanation of his parole, but admits that he was a pris- 
oner at Monterey. He seems not to have been captured with the rest on the 
way north, but to have submitted voluntarily, with an idea that the war was 
over. Alvarado, Hist. Ca/., MS., v, 256-8, says the army was organized in 
three divisions or companies of over 30 men each: 1st, veterans under Gabriel 
de la Torre; 2d, militia under Jesus Pico; 3d, Mexicans and New Mexicans 
under Herreraand Quintana. See also Ord, Ociir., MS., 145-6. 

^ Guerra states that he was kept in close confinement until Feb. '47, on 
account of his great influence on the Calif ornians. Doc. Hist. Cat., MS., iv. 
1301. There are other contemporary references to his captivity. 

^ Mont. Californian, Nov. 7, 1846. 

'Torre, Remin., MS., 160-74, gives some details, and names Cdrlos and 
Jos6 Antonio Espinosa, ]Est6van and Pablo de la Torre, and Antonio Ruiz de 
la Mota as the leaders. They raised a force of some 30 men, and were some- 
what successful in getting supplies; but they do not appear to have joined 
Castro either before or after the fight. 


an active part in recruiting, arrived at San Juan Bau- 
tista from the Sacramento with about 34 men and a 
drove of several hundred horses. The same day there 
arrived Captain Thompson with about the same num- 
ber of men from San Jose, and all camped for the 
night at San Juan. Knowledge of their presence, 
and especially that of the horses, was promptly for- 
warded to Castro's camp on the Salinas. It was also 
on the 15th that Thomas 0. Larkin set out with one 
attendant, William Matthews, from Monterey for 
Yerba Buena. He had previously sent his family 
there for safety, and had just received from his wife a 
letter making known the illness of his child, together 
with a message from Captain Montgomery, who de- 
sired an interview. Larkin had no suspicion of dan- 
ger, and stopped for the night at Los Verjeles, the 
rancho of Joaquin Gomez, sending Matthews on to 
San Juan, and intending to follow him next morning. 
But news of his trip reached Castro's camp,^^ and 
Chavez conceived the project of capturing the consul. 
The other officers, while admitting the advantage of 
such a capture, seem to have opposed the act as likely 
to make known their presence prematurely and pre- 
vent the success of their main purpose; but Chavez 
either overcame their fears, or, as some say, undertook 
the enterprise without their consent; and at any rate, 
he appeared about midnight at Gomez's rancho with 
a dozen men. Larkin was roused from sleep, obliged 
to dress in haste, and carried on horseback as a pris- 
oner to the Salinas camp; but he was treated with 
the greatest kindness by all the Californian officers 
from the beginning to the end of his captivity. The 
plan was to utilize the possession of so important a 
man in later negotiations for a truce, exchange of 
prisoners, surrender, or escape from consequences of 
broken paroles, as